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Grant number like: FT-56003-08

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

Summer Stipends
Research Programs

[Grant products][Media coverage]

$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
5/1/2008 – 7/31/2008

Trading in Cultural Spaces: How Chinese Film Came to America

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.