Media and Culture in Contemporary China

Media and Culture in Contemporary China

A two-day conference featuring Chinese Producer Zhang Jizhong, sponsored by the UCLA-USC Joint East Asian Studies Center and held on the UCLA and USC campuses

Friday, October 21, 2011
8:30 AM - 9:00 PM
James West Alumni Center

The boundaries between Hollywood and Asia are fast disappearing, with Asian corporations playing a key role in U.S. film production, and with American theme parks and retail stores in Japan, Hong Kong and China attracting visitors from all over Asia. The location of Los Angeles and its media industries on the Pacific Rim makes it a vital space to deepen and enrich these trans-Pacific ties. This conference will explore the globalization of the China entertainment industry and the impact of film and TV on public perception of history and culture in China.

The conference will feature a keynote address by Chinese producer and director Zhang Jizhong. Renowned for his TV serializations of the classic Ming dynasty novels, Romance of the Three Kingdoms, The Water Margin, and Journey to the West, he is currently creating a Chinese theme park based on the Monkey King legend. A special screening of new 2011 episodes of Journey to the West will be shown on October 21.

Conference sessions will focus on the state of the film and TV industry in contemporary China; recreating Chinese history and classic literature in film and TV; and the globalization of theme parks. Additional sessions will be devoted to graduate student and K-12 teacher training workshops.

Day 1 Schedule: Friday, October 21, UCLA

8:30: Continental breakfast

9:00: Opening Remarks

9:15: Session 1: “The State of the Film & Television Industry in Contemporary China: the view from the Academy”

  • Chair: Stanley Rosen, Political Science, USC
  • Panelists:
    Michael Berry, East Asian Languages & Cultures, UCSB, “China's Hollywoods: Global Chinese Cinema in the Postsocialist Era
    Aynne Kokas, Asian Languages & Cultures, UCLA, “Imaginary Landscapes, Imagined Communities
    Sun Shaoyi, Shanghai University/NYU in Shanghai, “It's Safe to Laugh Now: The Comic Turn of Contemporary Chinese Cinema
    Michael Curtin, Film & Media Studies, UCSB, “Big Media, Soft Power: The Possibilities and Perils of State Leadership
  • Discussant: Robert Rosen, School of Theater, Film & Television, UCLA

11:15: Coffee break

11:30: Session 2: “The State of the Film & Television Industry in Contemporary China: the view from the Industry”

  • Moderator: Martin Kaplan, Director, Norman Lear Center, USC Annenberg School
  • Panelists:
    Mike Medavoy, chairman and CEO, Phoenix Pictures, and co-founder of Orion Pictures
    William M. Mechanic, president and CEO of Pandemonium Films, and former chairman and CEO of Fox Filmed Entertainment
    Janet Yang, president of Manifest Films, and former president of production of Oliver Stone’s Ixtlan Productions
    Teddy Zee, president, Teddy Zee Productions, and former senior production executive at Paramount and Columbia
    Peter Shiao, founder and CEO, Orb Media Group, founder of Celestial Pictures

1:00: Lunch (A boxed lunch is available for $12 with advance reservation.)

2:15: Session 3: “Recreating Chinese History and Classic Literature in Film & Television”

  • Chair: Andrea S. Goldman, History, UCLA
  • Panelists:
    Jonathan Chris Hamm, Asian Languages & Cultures, University of Washington, “From the Boxers to Kung Fu Panda: The Chinese Martial Arts in Global Entertainment
    Zhu Ying, Media Studies, College of Staten Island, CUNY, “From Anticorruption to Officialdom: The Transformation of Chinese Dynasty TV Drama
    Rong Cai, Asian Languages & Cultures, Emory, “Memory of Politics and Politics of Memory: Restaging Revolution on Contemporary Chinese Television”
    Matthias Niedenführ, Director, European Centre for Chinese Studies, “Revising and Televising the Past: Portrayal of Historical Leader Figures in Chinese TV Dramas
  • Discussant: Robert Chi, Asian Languages & Cultures, UCLA

4:15: Coffee break

4:30: Keynote speech: Zhang Jizhong

6:00: Buffet dinner (Invitation Only)

7:30: Screening of episodes from Zhang Jizhong’s Journey to the West Television Serial (UCLA Lenart Auditorium, Fowler Museum)

Day 2 Schedule: Saturday, October 22, USC

9:30: Continental breakfast

10:00: Slide-show introduction to theme parks in China
Zhuang Jiayun, Dramatic Art, UNC, China’s Theme Parks Today, the Themed Space(s), Marketing Models and the Imagineering/Copying Power”

10:15: Session 4: “Globalization of Theme Parks: the view from the Industry”

  • Moderator: R. Bin Wong, History & Director, Asia Institute, UCLA
  • Panelists:
  • Dr. Wing T Chao, FAIA, Master Planner and Architect
  • Bob Weis, Executive Vice President, Walt Disney Imagineering
  • Dina Benadon, CEO, Super 78, Inc.
  • Shi Zhang, Associate Professor, UCLA Anderson School of Management
  • Thomas E. McLain, Partner, Arnold & Porter LLP and Chairman of the Asia Society Southern California

12:00: Lunch

12:00-1:30: K-12 Teachers’ Training Program (Separate Registration Required through the USC US-China Institute)

1:30: Session 5: “Theme Parks in China: the view from the Academy”

  • Chair: David C. Kang, Professor, International Relations, USC
  • Panelists:
    Hai Ren, East Asian Languages, University of Arizona, “Leisure as an Event of Self-Formation at a Chinese Theme Park
    Dru Gladney, Anthropology, Pomona, “Nationalizing Cultures: It's a Big World After All”
    Susan Brownell, Anthropology, University of Missouri-St. Louis, “World Expo Shanghai 2010: Why it wasn’t a media event, but still drew 70 million spectators
    Jay Wang, USC Center on Public Diplomacy, and Sun Shaojing, School of Journalism, Fudan University, “Experiencing cultures: Chinese visitors’ encounter with nation-brands at Shanghai Expo
  • Discussant: Yunxiang Yan, Anthropology & Director, Center for Chinese Studies, UCLA

4:00: Coffee break

4:15-5:45: An Audience Conversation with Zhang Jizhong

Click here to RSVP

Full Program and Conference Information


Friday, October 21 at UCLA: A boxed lunch is available for $12 with advance reservation. Parking is available for $11 in Structure 8.

Cost : Free

Sponsor(s): Center for Chinese Studies, Asia Pacific Center, zConfucius Institute, Department of History, Asian Languages & Cultures, Asian American Studies Center, USC East Asian Studies Center, USC Norman Lear Center, USC US-China Institute