Director and producer Zhang Yuan has become one of China's leading cinematic voices with his urban realist works. Born in Nanjing in 1963, Zhang Yuan graduated from the Beijing Film Academy in 1989 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in cinematography. One year later he produced and directed his first feature length film, Mother, winning the Audience Award at the Nantes Film Festival. His second feature, Beijing Bastards, completed in 1992, was the first totally independent film of post-1949 mainland Chinese cinema. Since that time Zhang Yuan has continued to produce and direct a variety of award-winning documentaries and fiction films and maintains an active career as a music video producer and director for MTV. In 1994 Time magazine selected Zhang Yuan as one of the hundred young leading figures of the world for the next century. Zhang's latest film Seventeen Years received its world premiere in September at the Venice Film Festival and was awarded the Special Prize for Direction.
In conjunction with the visit by Zhang Yuan, the Harvard Film Archive is delighted to welcome back Jimmy Tan, one of China’s most enterprising and creative film producers. In addition to producing Zhang’s films East Palace/West Palace, Crazy English, and Seventeen Years, Jimmy Tan has produced such recent works as Ermo (1994) and The Emperor’s Shadow (1997). We express a word of special thanks to Jimmy Tan for Graciously granting us the opportunity to premiere Seventeen Years.
This series would not have been possible without the invaluable efforts of Zhijie Jia, as well as support from Professor Leo Lee of the East Asian Cultural Studies Workshop, A Friendly Inn, Adams House, Asian American Association at Harvard, Renée Wright of Lens to Lens, Peggy Parsons of The National Gallery of Art.