We Were SMART tells the stories of China’s Sha-ma-te (referred to as SMART) subculture. Based on in-depth interviews with migrant workers born in the 1990s and 2000s, this documentary film explores why younger migrant workers began expressing themselves through punk hairstyles. The film focuses on their hometowns, educational backgrounds, destination cities, factory lives and spiritual world.

Region of Origin

Year of Release



125 minutes


NTSC, Color

Previous Screenings

Sunday, October 3, 2021 / 20:40 2021 Schedule


Li Yifan Thumbnail

Li Yifan

Known as a director and a curator, Li Yifan was born in Wuhan, Hubei Province, in 1966. He graduated from the Central Academy of Drama in Beijing in 1991. He is now living and working in Chongqing. His documentary Before the Flood, Chronicle of Longwang: A Year in the Life of a Chinese Viallage, won several international awards, including the Wolfgang Staudte Award at International Forum for New Cinema of Berlinale, the SCAM International Award at the Cinema du Reel, the Robert and Frances Flaherty Prize of the YIDFF of Japan, and the Humanitarian Award of the HKIFF, as well as the IDFA Jan Vrijman Fund Film Fund Award in the Netherlands and the Swiss Vision Sud Est Film Fund Award.