The American Film Institute (AFI) has launched a scholarship scheme allowing student filmmakers to write movies about China, saying US cinema-goers need more cultural insight than “Kung Fu Panda.”
Nine students at the AFI Conservatory will travel to China for “cultural” research,” to help them write a feature-length screenplay and develop it on a second year scholarship at the prestigious film school.
“China’s rich cultural legacy is filled with stories waiting to be shared with an eager global audience,” said AFI head Bob Gazzale, announcing the joint scheme with IDG Greater China, a venture capital group.
IDG boss Hugo Shong said: “Although China has a remarkable and distinguished history stretching back more than 5,000 years, too many Americans only know Chinese culture through animated films like ‘Kung Fu Panda’ and ‘Mulan.’
“Americans deserve to see other types of movies about China, ones that hopefully can entertain them, educate them and at the same time touch their hearts,” added Shong, head of IDG Greater China and founding IDG partner.
The AFI/IDG China Story Fellowship scheme was announced as the AFI’s annual week-long film festival drew to a close in Los Angeles on Thursday.
“By initiating this project with AFI, I am hoping that together we can jointly encourage a new generation of American screenwriters to produce more and different kinds of screenplays about China,” said Shong, cited in an AFI statement.
The US film industry has long sought to increase its presence in China, pushing for the easing of strict quotas on foreign films and launching joint ventures to make movies in the vast country, a potentially huge and expanding market for Hollywood blockbusters.
[Image via Agence France-Presse]