Nine film students at AFI are getting a chance to learn more about China, develop scripts around Chinese stories and have a full year of tuition paid under a new scholarship program unveiled Wednesday at AFI Fest in Hollywood.
Funded by Hugo Shong, chairman of IDG Greater China, the AFI/IDG China Story Fellowship aims to help develop feature-length screenplays that foster greater understanding of Chinese history, literature and culture. The first three recipients of the scholarship visited China for more than a month this summer to research their screenplays. The recipients also get their second year of tuition at AFI paid.
Paige Devitt, 23, is developing a teen comedy centered on China’s famously grueling gaokao college entrance exams, and Lindsay Golder, 27, is penning a matchmaking comedy. Derek Ustruck, 33, is writing a screenplay about a family living in a traditional courtyard home in Beijing whose routine is upended when a Mary Poppins-type android comes into their world.
“I created this because our firm invests in films and film companies. China is the fastest-growing film market, and potentially the largest, but the problem is … most of the American movies you see over there are action films,” Shong said Wednesday on the red carpet in front of the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. “China has a long history and there are lots of stories to be told.
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