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Wang was missing: Rediscovering Wayne Wang’s independence

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Wayne Wang (1949–present) occupies a unique position among Chinese American directors working in the United States as he has enjoyed a long and productive career spanning more than 30 years. Unlike most filmmakers, Wang has moved back and forth between independent filmmaking with experimental characteristics and mainstream commercial Hollywood productions. After early success with his pioneering Chinese American film Chan is Missing (Wang, 1982), audiences and film critics were wondering what happened to the ‘independent’ after a string of several commercial Hollywood films during the early 2000s. In 2007 and 2008, Wang returned to independent film production with A Thousand Years of Good Prayers (2007) and even formal experimentation in The Princess of Nebraska (2008). Both films benefit from violations of mainstream Hollywood film form in the areas of editing, subtitling, camera, mise-en-scène and narrative. Wang could realize these projects through innovative financing using the strategy of shadow film and pioneering new approaches to distribution by premiering The Princess of Nebraska on YouTube.
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Keywords: Asian American film; Chinese American; Hollywood; Wayne Wang; YouTube; experimental film; immigration; independent film

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: The University of Hong Kong

Publication date: April 1, 2018

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  • Asian Cinema is a seminal journal, which has been published since 1995 by the Asian Cinema Studies Society under the stewardship of Professor John Lent. From 2012 Asian Cinema will be published by Intellect as part of our Film Studies journal portfolio. The journal currently publishes a variety of scholarly material - including research articles, interviews, book and film reviews and bibliographies - on all forms and aspects of Asian cinema. The journal's broad aim is to advance understanding and knowledge of the rich traditions of the various Asian cinemas, thereby making an invaluable contribution to the field of Film Studies in general.
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