ASCENSION is a documentary feature film exploring how China’s status as a new world power translates to day-to-day life for people of all class lines. China is making a historic shift from “the world’s factory” to a hub of innovation. It’s a place of struggle, hard work, boredom, ostentatious consumption, pollution, and creative modernization all at once. We see China’s globalized economy in locations ranging from remote mountain villages to mega-cities. Through a cinematic lens we examine sites that impact the world economy yet whose existence many have never heard of. We interweave disparate locales together to show an unexpected yet intrinsic interconnectedness. Many of these industries are new, and all will continue to be transformed or replaced as the global economy churns. We glean an impressionistic understanding of the growing behemoth that is the nominally communist yet hyper-capitalist People’s Republic of China. Through a series of vignettes, we watch how the “Chinese Dream” is playing out. The film examines a cycle of labor (represented by factories, construction sites, and refineries); consumption (in cavernous malls or decadent nightclubs); and waste (endless bicycle graveyards or industry-polluted rivers).