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The Wall Street of the Middle Kingdom: Making Movies in China Today

May 12, 2011 - 7:00pm
Braun Auditorium, Mudd Chemistry Building

This summer, award-winning historical epic “Empire of Silver” is coming to multiplexes in the Bay Area. Centered on a banking family in the most powerful merchant group in traditional China, the movie illustrates the magic formula that enabled these merchants to dominate the financial and commerce worlds of China for 500 years. It is an amalgam of history, art, entrepreneurship, and business ethics in China one century ago.

Stanford alumnus and director of the film Christina Yao will share her experience in making this period film about the Wall Street of the Middle Kingdom, alongside the showing of the movie’s trailer and a Making-Of documentary. She will also introduce the current movie industry in Mainland China through examples ranging from her real-location shooting to post-production. Yao holds a Ph.D. degree in Asian Drama from Stanford.

To provide the context in which the story of the movie took place, Stanford scholars will join in a panel discussion with Christina Yao. Prof. Ban Wang will talk about Confucianism and business ethics in history and today. Prof. Matthew Sommer will introduce the historical context of Late Qing China, in particular the business environment in a turbulent time. George Qiao, who specializes in Shanxi merchants, will trace the history of these pioneer bankers from the 14th to the 20th century. He will also examine how their unique management system, business ethics, and entrepreneurial culture were conducive to their lasting success.

For event details, please contact Carmen Suen at or call 650-725-1730. For more information about the movie, please visit or!/empireofsilverfilm.

Free and open to the public

Event Sponsor: 
This event is co-sponsored by the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, the Confucius Institute at Stanford University, the Center for East Asian Studies, and the Palo Alto Institute.
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