Jia Zhangke (Chinese: 贾樟柯; pinyin: Jiǎ Zhāngkē, born 24 May 1970) is a Chinese film director and screenwriter. He is generally regarded as a leading figure of the "Sixth Generation" movement of Chinese cinema, a group that also includes such figures as Wang Xiaoshuai, Lou Ye, Wang Quan'an and Zhang Yuan.Jia's early films, a loose trilogy based in his home province of Shanxi, were made outside of China's state-run film bureaucracy, and therefore are considered "underground" films. Beginning in 2004, Jia's status in his own country rose when he was allowed to direct his fourth feature film, The World, with state approval.Jia's films have received critical praise and have been recognized internationally, notably winning the Venice Film Festival's top award Golden Lion for Still Life. NPR critic John Powers praised him as "(perhaps) the most important filmmaker working in the world today."
Jia Zhangke was born in Fenyang, Shanxi, China. His interest in film began in the early 1990s, as an art student at the Shanxi University in Taiyuan. On a lark, Jia attended a screening of Chen Kaige's Yellow Earth. The film, according to Jia, was life changing, and convinced the young man that he wanted to be a director.: 185 Jia would eventually make it to China's prestigious Beijing Film Academy in 1993, as a film theory major, giving him access to both western and eastern classics, as well as an extensive film library.: 185