Kickstarter: Have you ever seen the Chinese version of FAME?
Have you ever wondered where Chinese superstars Gong Li, Zhang Ziyi andJiang Wen got started? Are you curious whether China is as successful in churning out movie stars as it is with Olympic gold medalists?
Then come support “The Road to Fame” and help bring this coming-of-age story to a worldwide audience!
“The Road to Fame” follows students from the graduating class at China's top drama academy as they attempt to stage “Fame,” the Broadway musical based on the 1980 hit movie. The stakes are high in China’s first official collaboration with Broadway – it sits on significant government funding, and if successful, the production might tour commercially.
At first glance, these Chinese students appear no different from the American characters they play on stage. But a deeper look reveals their intense anxieties with unique Chinese characteristics. They resent the corruption of showbiz in China, where money and connections do the talking. The first generation raised under the country's "one-child" policy, these kids are spoiled and lonely growing up – prone to discouragement in the face of obstacles in an adult world. They feel entitled to a comfortable lifestyle with cars, cash and real estate, and at the same time suffer tremendous pressure from family expectations. They also struggle with pedantic Chinese teachers and the conformity of Chinese culture in asserting their individuality.
Through the ups and downs of rehearsing “Fame” and preparing to graduate, these students learn to search for their confidence – their own voice – and their own path to success, however elusive it may appear. By telling this story, I hope to paint an intimate portrait of a modern China in transition, shaped by the hopes and frustrations of this post-80s generation.
Why Kickstarter? When I see a great story I want to tell, I just dive in. In 2004, I took a break from my Silicon Valley career and moved to China to pursue my film-making dream. Uninspired by commercial film production, I made a feature documentary, “Beijing or Bust,” about why six Chinese Americans moved “back” to China and their experience living in Beijing. The movie aired on PBS, but soon enough, I found myself back in the Internet industry, this time in China. Last year, I quit my job so I could focus full-time on finishing“The Road to Fame.” (By the way, check out the other feature documentary I’m producing, "Zanta.")
I’m an entrepreneur at heart so I like to bootstrap everything. For “Beijing or Bust,” I wrote, directed and shot the film while teaching myself how to edit by Googling my questions. But “The Road to Fame” is different – it has many more characters; its themes are complex; and it requires much higher production and post-production values. So far, I have funded the project entirely out of my own pocket. To complete the film we need more money to hire an experienced post-production crew.
More importantly, we would like to have your support in publicizing this film. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. Encourage your friends to do the same. Donate $1. Donate $10 and get a digital download of my first feature documentary, “Beijing or Bust.” Stay involved in whatever way you can! More importantly, let’s work together to make these kids shine like stars, if only for 90 minutes in the film!
Oh, by the way, the film has been selected to participate in one of the most prestigious film forums this fall. Details will be announced in early August, so stay tuned!
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