Under The Same Sky

Vast difference in two students' schooling reveals the truth about China's equal education system.
Year Released
Film Length(s)
19 mins
Closed captioning available
Remote video URL


During the Chinese government's national campaign on "equal" education, discover the different reality of a city versus a countryside boy as they both go to school.

Featured review

What an interesting and heartbreaking film!
Rhonda Rosen
Loyola Marymount University - Circulation Services Librarian


In 2014, the Chinese government started a new national campaign on equal elementary education, but at the same time strengthened the residential registration system to segregate the rural and urban areas. Through this observational documentary we watch as class and regional lines collide to debunk the Chinese propaganda about equality.

The truth is revealed that the elementary education in China puts young children under unbearable and shocking pressure, which is what I’ve personally suffered from while growing up. Now as an adult, in reviewing the education I received in China I discovered the influence it had on me and what it is still doing to children today that come from different backgrounds.


I couldn't get enough of it… great film… very realistic… exquisite.
Dr. Yu-Hua Guo
Professor of Sociology, Tsinghua University.
The film has a natural style…the social issue this film focuses on is the most important aspect that people who care about the education system in China should worry about.
Xuehui Xiao
Professor of Ethics and Sociology, Southwest University for Nationalities
The filmmaker captured the unfiltered life of two children in the most natural way…the film has an interesting structure where we travel back and forth between the contrasting lives they lead.
Mrs. Qi
Librarian, National Library of China
The disparity between city and rural area students is shocking.
Dallas King
Film Director, UCLA and LMU Professor
Under the same sky, lives are different. Who takes responsibility?....
Mrs. HuiYa
Assistant Librarian - National Library of China

Awards and Screenings

Golden Reel Award Nomination at the 33rd Asian Pacific Film Festival (Oscar Qualifying), 2017
Best Documentary Short Nomination at St. Louis International Film Festival, 2017
Jury award at Lady Filmmakers Festival , 2016
Award of Recognition at Los Angeles International Independent Documentary Awards & Impact Doc Awards , 2016
Best Documentary Short Nomination at Los Angeles Chinese Film Festival, 2017
Best Student Film Nomination Long Beach Indie International Film, Media and Music Festival, 2016
LMU Film Outside the Frame - Nominated the Faculty Award for Global Perspective & Intercultural Experiences, 2016
Award of Recognition at the Impact DOCS Awards, 2017
Officially Selected by: Los Angeles CineFest ArtCity Short Film Festival, Las Vegas Film Festival, 2017 Cannes Short Film Corner, 2017 Global Impact Film Festival

Director Commentary

3 years ago, I went back to Xi’an, China, the city I grow up in to retrace my own childhood steps of my elementary education. However, while shooting I personally discovered that the faulty education I received has shaped my own mind and I witnessed how it is still influencing the Chinese children today. As the country grows so fast, the struggle of young children is shocking as the equality between the urban-rural gap widens. I took it as my duty to use my directing and shooting skills to expose the daily “norm” of the elementary education in China to the world.

Being a DP and director of a documentary for the first time has become an incredible experience and even after I started editing this project. I realized that the feelings I had at the moment i was shooting affected the frame I was capturing subconsciously. Through this process, the picture gains the power to evoke those personal emotions I had while filming and conveys my own experience to the audience, which is what I have come to understand the beauty of self-discovery within cinema.

Features and Languages

Film Features

  • Closed Captioning
  • Subtitles

Subtitle/Caption Languages

  • English

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