China Love

China love takes us on a billion-dollar ride of fantasy exploring contemporary
china through the window of the pre-wedding photography industry.

Past screenings

Date Venue
Jun 13 6:30pm Sydney Film Festival Event Cinemas George Street
Jun 17 6:00pm Sydney Film Festival Dendy Newtown
Sep 24 6:30pm Sydney Event Cinemas George Street
Sep 26 6:30pm Southbank Village Cinemas - Crown
Oct 10 6:30pm Robina Event Cinemas Robina
Oct 10 6:30pm Yarraville Sun Theatre Yarraville
Oct 17 6:30pm Brisbane Event Cinemas Brisbane City Myer
Oct 17 6:30pm Randwick The Ritz Cinema
Oct 30 6:30pm Chatswood Mandarin Centre
Nov 8 6:00pm North Hobart The State Cinema
Nov 9 7:45pm New York City DOC NYC - Cinepolis Chelsea
Nov 11 6:30pm Byron Bay Pighouse Flicks Lounge Cinema
Nov 12 7:00pm Canberra Palace Electric Cinema
Nov 15 6:30pm Adelaide Wallis Piccadilly Cinemas
Nov 19 6:30pm Darwin Deckchair Cinema
Nov 28 7:30pm Belgrave, Victoria Cameo Cinema
Nov 30 6:45pm Carlton, Melbourne Cinema Nova
Dec 4 6:30pm Sale, Victoria Sale Cinema
Dec 5 6:30pm Randwick, NSW The Ritz
Dec 10 7:30pm Guangzhou International Documentary Film K11 Cinema
Dec 11 6:30pm Newtown, NSW Dendy Cinemas Newtown
Dec 12 6:30pm Melbourne, Victoria Village Cinemas Crown
Dec 12 6:30pm Southbank, Melbourne Village Cinemas Crown
Dec 15 3:30pm Guangzhou International Documentary Film K11
Dec 15 11:00pm Guangzhou International Film Festival Shutter Light Cinema
Dec 17 6:30pm Adelaide Palace Nova East End
Feb 3 9:30pm ABC TV China Love (TV HOUR)
Feb 6 6:30pm Hot Docs / Doc Soup Ted Rodgers Cinema
Feb 7 6:45pm Hot Docs / Doc Soup Ted Rodgers Cinema
Mar 14 10:00am San Luis Obispo Film Festival Downtown Cinemas
Mar 15 4:15pm San Luis Obispo Film Festival Downtown Cinemas
Mar 17 1:30pm San Luis Obispo Film Festival Downtown Cinemas
Mar 28 9:30pm DOCVILLE Cinema ZED-STUK
Mar 30 6:00pm DOCVILLE Cinema ZED-STUK
Mar 31 12:30pm Salem Film Festival Peabody Essex Museum
Apr 1 9:30pm Cleveland International Film Festival Tower City Cinemas
Apr 2 12:00pm Cleveland International Film Festival Tower City Cinemas
Apr 3 5:30pm Cleveland International Film Festival Tower City Cinemas
Apr 4 9:30pm DOCVILLE Cinema ZED-STUK
Apr 12 10:00am Cascadia Women's Festival WWU Showcase
May 30 2:45pm Doc Edge NZ Loft, Q Theatre - Auckland
Jun 2 1:45pm Doc Edge NZ Rangatira, Q Theatre
Jun 13 4:45pm Doc Edge NZ The Roxy 2, Wellington
Jun 15 4:00pm Doc Edge NZ The Roxy 1, Wellington
Jun 22 7:00pm Shanghai Royal Asiatic Society
Jul 4 6:45pm Hong Kong Asia Society Hong Kong Center
Oct 11 7:15pm Heartlands Film Festival AMC Traders Point Theatre 7, Indianapolis
Oct 15 7:30pm Heartlands Film Festival AMC Traders Point Theatre 9, Indianapolis
Oct 20 9:30am Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival The Arlington, Cinema 2
Nov 19 6:00pm New York City China Institute
Opened Jan 24 London DocHouse
Opened Jan 25 London DocHouse
Opened Jan 26 London DocHouse
Opened Jan 27 London DocHouse
Opened Jan 28 London DocHouse
Opened Jan 29 London DocHouse
Opened Jan 30 London DocHouse
Opened Jan 31 London DocHouse
Opened Feb 1 London DocHouse
Opened Feb 2 London DocHouse
Opened Feb 3 London DocHouse
Opened Feb 4 Films in the Square Aotea Square
Opened Feb 4 London DocHouse
Opened Feb 5 London DocHouse
Opened Feb 6 London DocHouse


  • SBS Australia Mar 12, 2021

    "China is at the junction of the past and the future, but the past and the future are rubbing and colliding with each other at a high speed, so that China is now in a very fluid state, like a place close to a dream."

  • Yeeyi Feb 5, 2021

    Olivia is deeply fascinated by the Chinese people's behavior of constructing dreams in a flourishing environment. She believes that China has only emerged from a painful history in a very short period of time and at a very fast speed. The conflicts between contemporary youth and the older generation burst out through exquisite wedding photos; and the interesting act of taking wedding photos has become a unique platform for every Chinese to build new dreams and create memories.

  • Love, Captured: China’s Billion-Dollar Pre-Wedding Photo Industry Feb 7, 2020

    China Love, a documentary released last year by Australian filmmaker Olivia Martin-McGuire, takes a close look at China's pre-wedding photo industry. We meet couples young and old who celebrate love while also being honest about their anxieties. What if, the second the shutter snaps, is the best moment of their life? 

  • China Underground Oct 30, 2019

    15+ essential documentaries to watch to understand China

    A selection of documentaries that will help you to understand modern China

  • ChinaTalk - Ed Sanders Sep 23, 2019

    Trouwen in China komt met de nodige merkwaardigheden. Een van de bijzondere aspecten van een Chinees huwelijk is, dat het administratief huwelijk bij de ambtenaar van de burgerlijke stand, het maken van trouwfoto’s en de bruiloft niet op dezelfde dag vallen en vaak maanden uit elkaar liggen. Die huwelijksreportage, die meestal maanden voor de bruiloft gemaakt wordt, is ook heel anders dan wij in Nederland gewend zijn. De Australische fotografe en filmmaakster Olivia Martin-McGuire neemt ons in haar documentaire China Love mee in de wereld van de Chinese trouwfotografie.

  • Sixth Tone - Gao Qianhui Jul 25, 2019

    Something Old, Something New in China’s ‘Pre-Wedding Photos’

    Australian filmmaker Olivia Martin-McGuire shares her thoughts on love and marriage in a country saying “I do” to lavish photoshoots.

  • The South China Morning Post - Jun 30, 2019

    China Love film delves into country’s billion-dollar pre-wedding photo industry.

    Pei-Pei and Xuezhong live in Shanghai’s French Concession. They married in 1968 and, as was typical for the time, have just one small black-and-white wedding photo.

    “Pre-wedding photography could never have happened in 1968 because of the Cultural Revolution,” says Xuezhong, referring to the upheaval that took place under Mao Zedong, from 1966 to 1976. “Colourful clothing was not allowed. We had no choice.”

    They did choose, however, to create new memories by having the wedding photos of their dreams taken decades later in a modern setting.

  • Radio 13 - Reuben Raj May 25, 2019

    Martin-McGuire shows the power of photography and how the camera is helping ‘a nation build new memories’. But, does the illusion come with a price by setting unachievable expectations and goals for a young husband and wife? Will the pre-wedding photographs eventually represent failure and what could have been instead of what is?

    Only time will tell.

  • South China Morning Post - Tamara Thiessen Jan 28, 2019

    When she visited China for the first time in 2004, Australian-born photographer-turned-director Olivia Martin-McGuire fell in love with its “pioneering spirit and upbeat pace”. A decade later she found herself living in Shanghai with her husband and children. Over the course of four years in the city, Martin-McGuire became fascinated by love and romance in Chinese society – in particular the phenomenon of the lavish pre-wedding photos.

  • The Big Issue - Keva York Jan 25, 2019

    In 21st century China, it's custom for bethrothed couples to spend small fortunes on glamorous portraits, taken months in advance of their wedding. China Love invited viewers on a tour of this weird and wonderful world.

  • Seattle Globalist - Zijun Cathy You Jan 14, 2019

    In one room, a forest of concrete tree trunks and plastic leaves gives way to a hidden door that opens to a European-style hallway. In another room, the sky is filled with artificial moon-glow and stars. In yet another room, there’s a beach with a vivid blue-sky backdrop and fake coconut trees.

  • Calcalist Jan 4, 2019

    עד מיליון דולר: התעשייה הגרנדיוזית של תמונות חתונה בסין שוברת שיאים

    מתחת למים, מרחפים באוויר, באנטרקטיקה או מול בניין האופרה בסידני. למה הזוגות הסינים מצלמים תמונות חתונה חודשים לפני הטקס ואיך זה קשור למאו דזה דונג ומהפכת התרבות

  • YITAO TV Dec 20, 2018

    Director Olivia Martin-McGuire interviewed on YITAO TV

  • ABC NEWS - Christina Zhou Dec 8, 2018

    Olivia Martin-McGuire, director of the China Love documentary, believes Chinese people are now displaying their wealth because it hadn't been possible in the past, particularly for people who lived through the decade-long Cultural Revolution.

  • Screen Hub Dec 6, 2018

    Media Stockade is a fine documentary company which focuses on social issues without allowing preaching to take over true filmmaking. China Love is a hoot in the cinema. 

  • Film Fowards - Phil Guie Nov 29, 2018

    Outrageous at the onset, but ultimately poignant, China Love pulls back the veil on the titular nation’s wedding photography industry, which at last count generated billions of dollars annually. That is an astounding figure, all the more so considering no such industry existed four decades ago, an era in which marriages were typically arranged and photographs were verboten. Director Olivia Martin-McGuire profiles several couples living in modern-day Shanghai to gauge the full effects of this relatively new phenomenon. Some of them have impending nuptials, while others married during the Cultural Revolution five decades ago or even further back in time.

  • The Southern Courier - Antony Field Nov 27, 2018

    If you've seen the film Crazy Rich Asians, you will know that some couples spare no expense when it comes to having the finest wedding. 

  • Marvin Brown Nov 17, 2018

    China Love begins by fastidiously documenting the phenomenon of elaborate pre-wedding photography in modern-day China. We’re introduced to dozens of brides-to-be shot in unbelievable gowns surrounded in unbelievable settings. We witness elaborate underwater setups, shots where couples are made to seem like they are floating in air, and every kind of fantasy made real. The film immediately springs to life, aided by bouncing editing, upbeat tempos—I thought of the kinetic energy of box-office smash Crazy Rich Asians.

  • We Are Moving Stories Nov 13, 2018

    A must for any newly engaged Chinese couple is the pre-wedding photo shoot. A marked break from the austere, purely functional weddings of the generation who grew up in the shadow of the Cultural Revolution, this multibillion dollar industry is the ultimate display of romance, status and wealth. Take a trip through modern-day Shanghai following couples on their crazed quest for the perfect photos. It’s a fantasy ride of glitz, excess, glamour and love.

    Interview with Director/Producer Olivia Martin-McGuire

  • Hollywood Soap Box - John Soltes Nov 10, 2018

    Perhaps the most emotionally effective part of the documentary, which recently played DOC NYC, deals with a nonprofit that provides photographic memories to the generation of couples who lived during the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s. These couples — including one that has been married for 69 years — apply the makeup, put on the dresses and hold their loved ones with great affection. The resulting photos will bring a tear to the eye of the viewer. The customs may not be liked by everyone who has to go through them, but real love makes its way through the flashbulbs and extravagance.

  • Blog Talk Radio - Cyrus Webb Nov 6, 2018

    Host Cyrus Webb welcomes photographer, director and producer Olivia Martin-McGuire to #ConversationsLIVE to discuss what led her to want to tell the story that is i the film CHINA LOVE and what it's been like to see the response.

  • Shock Ya - Karen Bernadello Nov 5, 2018

    Contemporary engaged couples in China are now putting on the ultimate display of romance, status and wealth as they embark on their quest for the perfect photos. Their fantasy rides of glitz, excess, glamour and love are being highlighted in the new documentary, ‘China Love,’ which was directed and produced by Australian filmmaker, Olivia Martin-McGuire. In honor of the movie premiering in the U.S. this Friday, November 9 at 7:45pm ET at Cinepolis Chelsea in Manhattan, as part of DOC NYC, ShockYa is premiering an exclusive clip from the documentary.

  • Screen Anarchy - Peter Martin Nov 2, 2018

    Set to enjoy its U.S. premiere as part of DOC NYC on Friday, November 9, China Love takes a look at Chinese culture through the lens of pre-wedding photography (?!).

    On initial blush, it sounds like quite a narrow focus; however, Olivia Martin-McGuire's documentary goes wide, encompassing the changes that have swept through China over the past few decades, and how that's affected its citizens.

  • Buzzfeed - Gabriel H. Sanchez Oct 6, 2018

    8 Photo Stories That Will Help You See The World A Little Differently

  • ABC TV News Breakfast Oct 5, 2018

    Now weddings are known for sucking up huge amounts of cash, but couples in China are taking it to an entirely new level.

  • The Guardian - Jenny Valentish Oct 5, 2018

    That’s according to Olivia Martin-McGuire, an Australian photographer who became intrigued by China’s billion-dollar pre-wedding photography industry while living in Shanghai for four years. Her film debut, China Love, is an empathetic take on how the country’s tumultuous history since the Cultural Revolution has influenced its present day.

  • Screen NSW Oct 3, 2018

    China Love producer on seeing China through the colourful lens of the pre-wedding photography industry.

  • Easy Weddings - Elise Sep 28, 2018

    Your wedding day is meant to be one of the most magical days of your life. It’s a day that many of us have dreamed about throughout our childhoods and have been looking forward to for months. But for couples in China, there’s actually one day far before the wedding day that’s more important. The day of their pre-wedding photo shoot.

  • Screen Australia - Caris Bizzaca Sep 26, 2018

    She was at The Bund in Shanghai, and had arrived early. The director of the Australian documentary Red Obsession, who she would be photographing, was still 20 minutes away. And so she was struck by this vast number of brides posing for photos – what she would later discover was one of up to seven backdrop and location changes for the booming billion dollar industry of pre-wedding photography shoots.

  • The Morning Show - Channel 7 Sep 24, 2018

    Love, Marriage & Money - Inside China's $80 Billion Wedding Industry

  • Film Blerg - Kevin Hawkins (Interview) Sep 24, 2018

    An Australian expat who has lived in China for four years, Martin-McGuire respectfully plays the role of an outsider looking in. What results is a fascinating film that ends up delving into Chinese history, culture and social customs. In the lead up to film’s launch in Australia, Kevin Hawkins chatted to filmmaker and photographer Olivia Martin-McGuire about China Love, her storytelling process and being an Australian in China.

  • Frank Chung - Sep 24, 2018

    The billionaire who helps real-life Crazy Rich Asians splash out $500,000 on lavish ‘pre-wedding’ photos.

    ALLEN Shi went from nothing to a self-made billionaire in less than eight years, all thanks to this insane trend.

  • Miranda Ward - Nine News Sep 24, 2018

    “I want to have wedding photos underwater,” comes the unexpected request from a bride-to-be.

    It sounds like a dream, but for China’s ‘Godfather of the pre-wedding photo industry’, it’s not only achievable, but something thousands of brides, not just a stereotyped bridezilla, are willing to pay a lot of money for.

  • Film Blerg - Kevin Hawkins Sep 18, 2018

    From the comfort of Australia it’s easy to roll our eyes about some of the peculiar habits of those living elsewhere in the world. China’s unusual obsession with pre-wedding photography, the practice where almost-married couples dress up for elaborate photoshoots in fantastical settings, is seemingly perfect fodder for our amusement. But director Olivia Martin McGuire’s documentary does not exist to poke fun at this unlikely cultural phenomenon; rather she reserves judgement and uses this novel topic as a starting point to produce a thought-provoking and nuanced piece of journalism about many interesting facets of modern China.

  • Film Ink - Jarrod Walker Sep 13, 2018

    Australian filmmakers Olivia Martin-McGuire and Producer Rebecca Barry, follow the families of young clientele who take part in the hugely popular ‘Pre-Wedding’ photographic industry in China. 

  • Examiner - Kasey Wilkins Sep 9, 2018

    A new Australian film highlights a fantastical and costly pre-wedding practice taking place in China.

    Olivia Martin-McGuire is an Australian expat living in Shanghai and director of documentary China Love.

  • Polka Dot Bride Aug 25, 2018

    If you’ve ever travelled to the world’s most famous locations and seen Chinese bridal couples posing for over-the-top photo shoots, there’s no need to congratulate them yet for their Big Day. Why? Because often the actual wedding could still be another six months away!

  • Ben Pike - Daily Telegraph Aug 22, 2018

    Chinese wedding photo guru Allen Shi says Aussie couples should get pictures before their big day.

    FORGET the traditional wedding day pictures, we should be copying the Chinese and organising the photographic shoot six months or a year ahead of the ceremony.

    That’s the advice of the “godfather” of China’s $80 billion wedding photography business

  • Honi Soit - Jamie Weiss Jun 22, 2018

    Her documentary China Love, set in and around Shanghai, explores how “the future is living together with the past” in modern China through a look at China’s burgeoning wedding industry. This industry – now worth over 80 billion dollars – is deeply emblematic of the cultural change, and it’s through this lens that Martin-McGuire uncovers some of the challenges facing modern Chinese society.

  • Filmink - Christine Westwood Jun 14, 2018

    China Love is her first feature length documentary and the film is currently in competition at the Sydney Film Festival. The director is supported by a crew of considerable female power, including editor Bernadette Murray and producers Rebecca Barry and Madeleine Hetherton, founders of Media Stockade and directors of award winning documentaries in their own right.

  • Xinhua Net - Liangyu Jun 13, 2018

    SYDNEY, June 13 (Xinhua) -- A new documentary showcasing Chinas profound love of wedding photography will premiere at the Sydney Film Festival on Wednesday evening, with audiences buzzing about the behind-the-scenes look into the multi-billion dollar industry.

  • Australian Financial Review - Lisa Murray Jun 8, 2018

    Australian photographer Olivia Martin-McGuire first caught sight of China's legion of brides-on-the-move, while she was waiting around on a shoot for AFR Weekend.

  • Create NSW Jun 6, 2018

    I was working as a photojournalist and I arrived early for a job for The Australian Financial Review (AFR). I was actually shooting the director of Red Obsession in Shanghai at The Roosevelt Hotel on the Bund. I was taken aback by handfuls of bridal couples being photographed against the sandstone walls, and then picking up their dresses to reveal white sneakers and running to another wall to set up another photo. 

  • John Mcdonald - The Sydney Morning Herald May 18, 2018

    Head On Photo Festival review: The haunting, bizarre and unreal

  • Rebecca Kamm - VICE May 14, 2018

    China's Pre-Wedding Photo Shoots Are Something Else

    "I saw how important these shoots were in constructing new dreams."

  • Sophie Haslett - Daily Mail May 13, 2018

    Million-dollar budgets, pictures in fake English villages and action movie choreography: Inside the world of Chinese pre-wedding photo shoots

  • Kerry Warren - New York Post May 8, 2018

    Inside the insane world of Chinese pre-wedding photos

  • Molly O'Brien - Advance Aug 1, 2017


  • Chelsea Matiash - TIME Feb 12, 2016

    Discover China's Love for Pre-Wedding Photos



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