Research Programs: Summer Stipends

Period of Performance

5/1/2008 - 7/31/2008

Funding Totals

$6,000.00 (approved)
$6,000.00 (awarded)

Trading in Cultural Spaces: How Chinese Film Came to America

FAIN: FT-56003-08

Ramona Curry
Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois (Champaign, IL 61801-3620)

Contrary to received ideas, the first Chinese-language films to reach "cross-over" (non-Chinese) audiences in the U.S. were neither Ang Lee's "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" (2000) nor even 1970s martial arts action films starring Bruce Lee. Rather, Chinese films began to play in cross-over theaters mid-century when producers in Hong Kong and Taiwan strove to gain regular scheduling and mainstream U.S. press coverage for their high-quality dramas and musical films. Due largely to the vision of San-Francisco-born engineer-turned-media entrepreneur Frank Lee (1922-2002), films such as the stunning 1964 Shaw Brothers' version of the legend "Mulan" ran outside Chinatowns for weeks on both U.S. coasts. My project aims to redress a too singular focus in media studies on how the "U.S./West" dominates the "Rest" by demonstrating that this untold history of Chinese film exhibition in North America bespeaks a decades-old process of media globalization that has played out also on U.S. soil.

Media Coverage

Review (of the book in which a revised version of the essay appeared, translated into Chinese) (Review)
Author(s): Po FUNG
Publication: HKFA Newsletter #58
Date: 11/1/2011
Abstract: Review of the newly published collection of articles (with English translated title CHINESE CINEMA: TRACING THE ORIGINS, but which appeared in Chinese only, editor Ain-Ling WONG, Hong Kong: Hong Kong Film Archive, 2011), in which a version of my article (Part I about Benjamin Brodsky as Trans-Pacific Film Entrepreneur) appeared in Chinese. The author, Po FUNG, singles out the essay for praise.

Associated Products

We'll Always Have Chegdu: East Meets West on the Silver Screen (Article)
Title: We'll Always Have Chegdu: East Meets West on the Silver Screen
Author: Ramona Curry
Abstract: Film Across the Pacific: Projections, Screens, and Mirrors-Part Two Theme Issue Volume 18 Number 1
Year: 2011
Format: Journal
Periodical Title: The Journal of American-East Asian Relations
Publisher: Brill