Animators’ Roundtable

Animators’ Roundtable Forum: Chinese Animation and (Post)Socialism
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
April 27-28, 2017

Films produced in socialist China (1949-1976) have often been regarded as political propaganda without much artistic creativity. Contrary to this stereotype, however, it was during these decades of “suppression of literature and arts” that Chinese animation reached a zenith of artistic splendor. The state-owned Shanghai Animation Film Studio was the only animation studio that existed during the socialist era. Dynamic and creative, it produced hundreds of high quality animated films and marked a brilliant page in the history of animation not only in China but worldwide. Although the majority of these masterpieces were made by the Shanghai Animation Film Studio during the socialist years, the studio continued its productions in the post-socialist 1980s and witnessed another artistic peak, which we can argue was actually an extension of the socialist era. The Shanghai Animation Film Studio continued to keep its socialist collective mode of production, and its accomplished animators were mainly those who matured and thrived during the socialist era.

This roundtable forum will discuss animated filmmaking in (post)socialist China from the insider perspectives of these animators. Their narratives revisit their gorgeous animation classics, reveal hidden histories and names behind the scenes, and bring us back to that unique era in a collective and nostalgic search for a glorious and irreproducible time that was once lost to history, but will now be recovered through their animated stories.

Panel 1: April 27 (Thursday): 14:00-18:00, Room 7336, Academic Building, Lifts 13-15

Welcome Speech: James Lee, Chair Professor, Dean of School of Humanities and Social Science

Panel Chair: Daisy Yan Du, Assistant Professor, Division of Humanities

Mochinaga Noriko: Mochinaga Tadahito and Animated Filmmaking in Early New China

Duan Xiaoxuan: Walking Our Own Path and Making Innovations in Chinese Animated Filmmaking

Yan Dingxian: An Authentic Animator

Lin Wenxiao:  Thoughts on Animated Filmmaking

Chang Guangxi: Tradition and Innovation: In Memory of Animated Filmmaking at the Shanghai Animation Film Studio

Panel 2: April 28 (Friday)9:00-12:00, Room 7336, Lifts 13-15

Panel Chair: Duan Xiaoxuan

Pu Jiaxiang: National Style and Characterization in Chinese Animation

Yan Shanchun: From a Layman to an Animator: My Animated Filmmaking Journey

Jin Fuzai: Music I Have Composed for Animated Films

Pu Yong: On the Art of Papercutting Animation

Panel 3: April 28 (Friday): 14:00-18:00, Room 7336, Lifts 13-15

Panel Chair: Chang Guangxi

Dai Tielang: In Love with My Animated Filmmaking

Yin Xiyong: Those Who Should Not Be Forgotten in the History of Chinese Animation

Yan Shuchen: Childhood Memories: Chinese Animation and the Shanghai Animation Film Studio from the Eyes of an Animator’s Son

Fung Yuk Song: The Tradition of Political Propaganda in 20th Century Chinese Animation

Ono Kōsei: Chinese Animation in Japan, 1940s-1980s

Night Screenings of Chinese Animation Classics

Animated Shorts: 19:00-22:00, April 27, Classroom LTD

Kitty Goes Fishing (1952), Little Tadpoles Look for Mama (1960), Mr Simple-Minded and Mr Unhappy (1962), The Herd Boy’s Flute (1963), The Hens’ Relocation to a New Home (1979), Snow Boy (1980), Three Monks (1980), Police Chief Black Cat (1984), The Toothless Tiger (1985), Dirt King (1986), with English subtitles

Animated Feature Film: 19:00-22:00, April 28, Classroom LTD

Uproar in Heaven (1961-1964), with English subtitles 

Animators’ and Speakers’ Bios:   

Greater China:

DAI Tielang (1930-): Dai was born in Singapore in 1930. He graduated from the Animation Department of the Beijing Film Academy in 1953 and joined the Shanghai Animation Film Studio in the same year. He was an animation designer for a long time before starting to work as an animated film director in 1979. His animated directorial debut was The Hens’ Relocation to a New Home (Muji banjia, cel animation, 1979). His films, often featuring scientific subject matter and catering to the interest of children, were very popular among young audiences. He also worked as art designer and screenwriter for his own films. From 1984-1987, he directed a well-known TV animation series Police Chief Black Cat (Heimao jingzhang), which won the first “Calf Award” (Tongniu jiang) in China in 1985. His film My Friend the Little Dolphin (Wode pengyou xiao haitun, cel animation, 1980) won the President’s Silver Award at the Italy International Children and Youth Film Festival.

PU Jiaxiang (1932-): Pu worked as a director at the Shanghai Animation Film Studio. He was an animation designer for multiple works, including Uproar in Heaven (Danao tiangong, cel animation,1961-1964), Little Tadpoles Look for Mama (Xiao kedou zhao mama, ink-painting animation, 1960), Nezha Conquers the Dragon King (Nezha naohai, cel animation, 1979), and others. As a film director, his representative works include The Black Rooster (Hei gongji, cel animation, 1980), Little Squirrel the Barber (Xiao songshu lifashi, cel animation, 1983), The Toothless Tiger (Meiya de laohu, cel animation, 1985), and more.

DUAN Xiaoxuan (1934-): Duan entered the Chinese animation industry by joining the Northeast Film Studio in 1948. She became the Deputy Head of the Animation Division of Shanghai Film Studio in 1950. After the founding of the Shanghai Animation Film Studio in 1957, she worked as the Chief Executive Engineer, animation camerawoman, and photographer. Her representative work includes around thirty animated films, such as Uproar in Heaven (Danao tiangong, 1961-1964, cel animation), Nezha Conquers the Dragon King (Nezha naohai, cel animation, 1979), Little Tadpoles Look for Mama (Xiao kedou zhao mama, ink-painting animation, 1960), The Herd Boy’s Flute (Mudi, ink-painting animation, 1963), The Deer’s Bell (Lu ling, ink-painting animation, 1982), and Feelings of Mountains and Rivers (Shanshui qing, ink-painting animation, 1988).

YAN Shanchun (1934-): Yan is a first-class director of animated films. He graduated from the Lu Xun Academy of Fine Arts in 1958 and joined the Shanghai Animation Film Studio later that same year. Over his long career, he has worked as animator, animation designer, art designer, film director, and others. He participated in the production of Uproar in Heaven (Danao tiangong, cel animation,1961-1964), The Herd Boy’s Flute (Mudi, ink-painting animation, 1963), Nezha Conquers the Dragon King (Nezha naohai, cel animation, 1979), Golden Monkey Conquers the Demon (Jinhou xiangyao, cel animation, 1985), and many other animated feature films and shorts. He has also directed and co-directed around ten animated projects, such as Mr. Wolf’s Treat (Laolang qingke, cel animation, 1980), The Dirt King (Lata dawang qiyu ji, TV animation series, 1986-1987), Feelings of Mountains and Rivers (Shanshui qing, ink-painting animation, 1988), Storm in a Desert (Mofeng, cel animation, 1992), The Little Snail Celebrates His Birthday (Xiao Wo’niu guo shengri, 1996), and Qin Dynasty: Fantasia of Terracotta (Qin: Bingmayong huanxiangqu, 2003). He is a member and honorary director of the Shanghai Film Association.

LIN Wenxiao (1935-): Lin graduated from the Beijing Film Academy in 1953 and immediately joined the Shanghai Animation Film Studio, where she worked as animation designer and director. She was key animator for Little Tadpoles Look for Mama (Xiao kedou zhao mama, ink-painting animation, 1960), Uproar in Heaven (Danao tiangong, 1961-1964, cel animation), The Herd Boy’s Flute (Mudi, ink-painting animation, 1963), Nezha Conquers the Dragon King (Nezha naohai, cel animation, 1979), and more. She worked as film director for Snow Boy (Xue haizi, cel animation, 1980), Golden Monkey Conquers the Demon (Jinhou xiangyao, cel animation, 1985), Jiazi the Boy Saves the Deer (Jiazi jiu lu, cel animation, 1985), The Deer-Girl (Lu nü, cel animation, 1993), The White Egg (Baise de dan, cel animation, 1995), and others. She has won a Golden Rooster Award, Government’s Award, and is a twelve-time winner of the Calf Award, and in addition has won several awards at various international film festivals.

YAN Dingxian (1936-): Yan graduated from the Beijing Film Academy in 1953 and joined the Shanghai Animation Film Studio in the same year. There, he worked as animation designer and director, and served as a former president from 1984 to 1988. He was the key animation designer for Uproar in Heaven (Danao tiangong, cel animation, 1961-1964). He directed Monkey Steals the Ginseng Fruit (Renshen guo, cel animation, 1981), Nezha Conquers the Dragon King (Nezha naohai, cel animation, 1979), Golden Monkey Conquers the Demon (Jinhou xiangyao, cel animation, 1985), Mice Shuke and Beita (Shuke he Beita, TV animation series, 1989-1992), and many other films. He has won the Golden Rooster Award, Government’s Award, as well as the Calf Award 9 times, and has also won five awards at various international film festivals. Between 1985 and 1997, he served on multiple international film festival juries at home and abroad.

FUNG Yuk Song (1940-): Fung joined the Shanghai Animation Film Studio after he graduated from the Zhejiang Fine Arts Academy in 1959. He participated in the production of around thirty animated films as designer and director, including The Hens’ Relocation to a New Home (Muji banjia, cel animation, 1979), One Night at the Art Studio (Hualang yiye, cel animation, 1978), and Young Heroes (Zigu yingxiong chu shaonian, cel animation, 1995-1996). He relocated to Hong Kong in 1978 and worked as a film director at the Hong Kong Animation Company. In 1984, he began to work as a film director and production director at the Wang Film Productions in Taiwan. During his stay in Taiwan, he collaborated with King Hu and co-directed Zhang Yu Boils the Sea (Zhang Yu zhu hai, cel animation, mid-1980s). He also directed and produced around 200 TV animation series outsourced from Europe and the U.S. His work In Quest of Magic (Xue xian ji, cel animation, 1992) won the Golden Horse Award in Taiwan in 1992, and he was invited to participate in the Annecy International Animated Film Festival in 1993. Another of his works, Golden Dream (Jusheng, 1992), was invited to be shown at the International Animation Festival Hiroshima in 1993. In 1990, he was invited by the Wang Film Productions to establish the Speedy Victory Animation Company (Chisheng yishu gongsi) in Zhuhai, Guangdong province.

CHANG Guangxi (1942-): Chang graduated from the Animation Department of Shanghai Film Academy in 1953 and joined the Shanghai Animation Film Studio in the same year. While there, he worked as an animator, key animator, art designer, and director. He participated in the production of more than 30 animated films, including Mr Simple-Minded and Mr Unhappy (Meitounao he Bugaoxing, cel animation, 1962) as his graduation project, Uproar in Heaven (Danao tiangong, cel animation, 1964) as an animator, Nezha Conquers the Dragon King (Nezha naohai, cel animation, 1979) as key animator, Snow Boy (Xue haizi, cel animation, 1980) as art designer, and Lotus Lantern (Baolian deng, cel animation, 1999) as film director. He served as the president of the Shanghai Animation Film Studio from 1991 to 1993, and he remains a nationwide first-class animation designer and member of ASIFA (International Animated Film Association).

JIN Fuzai (1942-): Jin is a composer and supervisor of MA students at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music. He has been longtime composer of music for films and has won numerous awards. His compositions include the music for animated films such as Three Monks (Sange heshang, cel animation, 1980), Nezha Conquers the Dragon King (Nezha naohai, cel animation, 1979), Golden Monkey Conquers the Demon (Jinhou xiangyao, cel animation, 1985), Lotus Lantern (Baolian deng, cel animation, 1999), and Feelings of Mountains and Rivers (Shanshui qing, ink-painting animation, 1988); and music for live-action feature films including Bell of Purity Temple (Qingliang si de zhongsheng, 1991), Red River Valley (Honghe gu, 1997), The Old House (Fengyu guyuan, 1991), Jigong the Immortal (Jigong, TV drama, 1988), and others. His representative musique dramatique includes The Peony Pavilion (Mudan ting, 1995), Widow Yuqing (Yuqing sao, 2010), Empress Wanrong (Wanrong, 1992), and others. He has also written numerous musicals, including Sunrise (Richu, 2002), Street Angel (Malu tianshi, 2009), The Last Moment (Zuihou de shunjian, 2009), Flowers and Fire (Xianhua liehuo, 2012), Fleeting Clouds: The Splendid Library (Jinxiu Guoyunlou, 2014), Shanghai Noah’s Ark (Shanghai fangzhou, 2015), and many others.

YIN Xiyong (1955-): Yin is an animation film director. He was born in Shanghai in 1955, and graduated from the Technical School of the Shanghai Animation Film Studio in 1973. Following his graduation, he immediately started to work at the Shanghai Animation Film Studio. He has participated in the production of more than 30 animated films, working as animator, animation designer, film director, production manager, and others. His representative works include Police Chief Black Cat (cinema version, cel animation, 2010), Xiban Slope (Xiban po, 2D animation, 2011), and Oolong Boy (Wulong xiaozi, 2D animation, 2013).

PU Yong (1956-): Pu is the son of Pu Jiaxiang, who is also presenting at this roundtable. Pu Yong worked as a papercutting animation movement designer at the Shanghai Animation Film Studio. He now teaches in the Animation Department of the Shanghai Institute of Visual Art.

YAN Shuchen (1967-): Yan is the son of Yan Shanchun, who is also presenting at the roundtable. Yan Shuchen graduated from the Shanghai University of Political Science and Law in 1990. He worked at the People’s Procuratorate in Jing’an District, Shanghai from 1990 to 1993, and he has since been working in the food industry in the field of foreign trade.

Japan:

ONO Kōsei (1939-): Ono is the Chairman of the Japan Society for Studies in Cartoons and Comics (JSSCC) and a guest professor at the Tokyo Polytechnic University. He graduated from the International Christian University of Tokyo in 1963 and became a free-lance writer and critic in 1974. He has written numerous essays and books about animation and cartoons. One of his representative works is History of Chinese Animation (Chūgoku no animēshon, 1987).

MOCHINAGA Noriko (1942-): She is the daughter of MOCHINAGA Tadahito (1919-1999). Mochinaga Tadahito (Chinese name FANG Ming) was a Japanese animator who flourished in wartime Tokyo. He lived in China for eight years, from1945 to1953, and became an important animator active in early socialist China. His representative work include The Dream to Be an Emperor (Huangdi meng, puppet animation, 1947), Capturing the Turtle in the Jar (Wengzhong zhuobie, cel animation, 1948), Thank You Kitty (Xiexie xiao huamao, cel animation, 1950), Kitty Goes Fishing (Xiaomao diaoyu, cel animation, 1952), and Who Mewed? (Miaowu shi shei jiao de, puppet animation, 1979).

Chinese Websites:

http://www.huma.ust.hk/cgi-bin/event/detail.php?event_id=511

http://www.huma.ust.hk/cgi-bin/event/detail.php?event_id=512

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