The 12th Annual ChinaFest is held during February 9-12, 2017
All film screenings are at Ukrop Auditorium, Queally Hall, The Robins School of Business, University of Richmond; in partnership with International Film Series (IFS).
We want to pay special tributes to two beloved members of our planning committee,
Dr. Irby B. Brown and Bertie Selvey, who had contributed greatly to our success.
They will be missed by all.

Festival Events

Thursday, FEBRUARY 9

The Inaugural Irby B. Brown Lecture

Global China: Connections in Art
Co-Sponsored with UR Osher Lifelong Learning Institute

7:00 – 8:30 p.m. International Commons, Carole Weinstein International Center

China has had a long history of interconnection with peoples outside of its borders, the effects of which have impacted and changed its art and culture; meanwhile, influences also traveled the reverse direction with many world cultures having been profoundly affected by China, whether by the invention of gun powder, printing, or porcelain. This talk looks in the direction of China’s receipt of outside stimuli in regard to the arts, reflecting its fruitful trade and contact with many places, including in Central, Northeast, and West Asia, and the Indian subcontinent.

This presentation will focus on fve art objects from the Tang dynasty through the Qing dynasty in the Freer|Sackler’s collection; the interworking of foreign inspiration into these classically Chinese objects reminds us of China’s long standing and complex global connections.

Jan Stuart is the frst Melvin R. Seiden Curator of Chinese Art at the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, the Smithsonian Institution’s national museums of Asian art, in Washington, DC. From 2006 to 2014, Stuart was Keeper of Asia (Head of Department) at the British Museum. Jan received her BA and a MA at Yale University, and a second MA in Chinese Art and Archaeology at Princeton University.

Inventing Nana Hsu: Creativity in Academic Writing
Co-sponsored by the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures and the International Studies Program at University of Richmond.

4:30 - 5:30 p.m. International Commons, Carole Weinstein International Center

In the fall of 1948, a young woman in Shanghai left behind her high school Chinese literature textbook just as Communist forces made their way into the city and the Nationalists beat a hasty retreat to Taiwan. The old Shanghai of riches and tatters crumbled. That textbook then moldered on some dank and dingy shelf for more than sixty years, with a mysterious faded phrase on its front cover and the student’s numerous jottings inside.  Who was that girl and how did she live and die?  Or did she?  Can she be merely a figment of our imagination? This talk will engage Nana’s textbook as an object with a life. Or perhaps, in this case, two lives.

Joseph R. Allen is Professor Emeritus of Chinese Literature and Cultural Studies, and Founding Chair of the Department of Asian Languages and Literatures, University of Minnesota.  His research and teaching include investigating the intersection of classical and contemporary Chinese culture. His book, Taipei: City of Displacements, was awarded the Joseph Levenson Post-1900 Book Prize by the Association for Asian Studies. 

Joseph R. Allen is Professor Emeritus of Chinese Literature and Cultural Studies, and Founding Chair of the Department of Asian Languages and Literatures, University of Minnesota.

Saturday, FEBRUARY 11

ChinaFest Family Day: Year of the Fire Rooster

10 a.m. - 5 p.m., Virginia Museum of Fine Arts 200 N Boulevard, Richmond, VA 23220

NEW extended hours for ChinaFest! A full day of fun! Bring the whole Family to celebrate the Lunar New Year and explore Chinese Art and Culture. Engage in art activities such as painting scrolls and making fans, participate in collaborative activities, and watch artist demonstrations and performances from Yu Dance, Lion Dances and Wushu martial arts! Plus much more!

Photographs courtesy of the VMFA
© Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
ChinaFest Year of the Fire Rooster Family Event is generously sponsored by WestRock Foundation and the Rose Group for Cross-Cultural Understanding.

ChinaFest! Year of the Fire Rooster

Shanghai Passages: Longtang Photographs by Gong Jianhua



The exhibition, shared with the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, features fifty black-and-white photographs (twenty-five at each location) by contemporary photographer Gong Jianhua (Chinese, born 1953), examining the artist’s fascination with the longtang neighborhoods in Shanghai. Unique to Shanghai, longtang are a type of housing that developed in the late nineteenth century as an urban adaptation of the Chinese courtyard home into the townhouse format. Longtang were organized into walled urban neighborhoods, each interlaced with a grid of progressively narrower lanes and alleyways. Situated chronologically after the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) and on the cusp of Shanghai’s resurgence as a global economic hub, Gong’s works provide vivid access to these semi-private passages that once dominated Shanghai’s urban fabric.

The photographs in this exhibition comprise half of a promised gift from Kent and Marcia Minichiello, which was divided between the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and the Joel and Lila Harnett Print Study Center, University of Richmond Museums. The exhibition is a collaboration between the University Museums and the VMFA and was curated by Kristopher Kersey, Assistant Professor of Art History, University of Richmond. At the University Museums, the exhibition and related programs are made possible in part with support from the University’s Cultural Affairs Committee and with funds from the Louis S. Booth Arts Fund.

Gong Jianhua (Chinese, born 1953), The Day of Washing Machines, 1990 (printed 2009), gelatin silver print on Ilford warmtone fiber paper, image 18 x 12 13/16 inches, Joel and Lila Harnett Print Study Center, University of Richmond Museums, Promised gift of Kent and Marcia Minichiello.
© Gong Jianhua

Sunday, FEBRUARY 12

Free Programs at the University museums

University Museums programs this semester take place on the campus of the University of Richmond and are free and open to the public, unless otherwise noted.

1:30 to 2:45 p.m.

1:30 pm., Curator’s talk, Harnett Museum of Art, Modlin Center “The Visual Culture of the Everyday in Shanghai’s Alleyways” Kristopher Kersey, Assistant Professor of Art History, Department of Art and Art History, University of Richmond, and curator of the exhibition

2:15 to 2:45 p.m., Tea reception and viewing of the exhibition Shanghai Passages: “Longtang” Photographs by Gong Jianhua, Harnett Museum of Art, University Museums

Kristopher Kersey

Film Screening Schedules

Friday, February 10 / 3 p.m. Zinnia Flower
Friday, February 10 / 7:30 p.m. Wolf Totemen Road
Saturday, February 11 / 10:30 a.m. Street Angel
Saturday, February 11 / 1 p.m. American Dreams in China
Sunday, February 12 / 7:30 p.m. Hero

Film Synopses

Zinnia Flower
Taiwan, 2015, directed by Tom Lin, 96 min.

Introduction and post-film discussion led by Eugene Lin, University of Richmond student from Taiwan.

Based on the director’s personal experience of coping with loss, tragedy strikes Yu Wei and Shin Min when a multicar collision claims both of their mates. Yu turns to drugs and alcohol to numb his pain; Shin seeks solace in activities once shared with her late fancé. A silent glance between the two strangers during a bus ride reveals an unspoken bond and forges a path to healing.


Wolf Totem
China, 2015, directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud, 121 min.

Introduction and post-film discussion led by Dr. Gengsong Gao, Assistant Professor of Chinese Studies.

In an adaptation of Lü Jiamin‘s bestseller, a young Chinese language instructor during the Cultural Revolution is sent to Mongolia to teach among the nomadic herding population. He soon becomes the pupil of his hosts when a government edict to thin the wolf population threatens the balance of the food chain. The ecosystem is put in further danger when a young wolf pup is discovered in captivity among the herding community.


Street Angel
China, 1937, directed by Yuan Muzhi, 91 min.

Introduction and post-flm discussion led by Dr. Jessica Chan, Assistant Professor of Chinese Studies.

Fleeing the war in Northeast China, sisters Hong and Yun seek refuge in Shanghai, but end up being controlled and oppressed by their adoptive parents. Both girls are forced into work—Yun as a prostitute. When it is discovered that Hong is to be sold to a wealthy patron, the sisters escape with the help of some unlikely counterparts. Melodrama and comedy are mixed to fine effect in a film loaded with social commentary.


American Dreams in China
China, 2013, directed by Peter Ho-sun Chan, 112 min.

Based on a real-life story, three young college friends of modest means discover the demand for English fluency in Chinese higher education. They follow their entrepreneurial instincts and create an Englishlanguage tutorial center powered by the study abroad craze of the 80s and 90s. Flaunting nationalism through the lens of global economic achievement, this highenergy film juxtaposes the development of the booming business with the crumbling relationship of its founders.



China, 2002, directed by Zhang Yimou, 99 min.

Introduction and post-film discussion led by Dr. Tze Loo, Associate Professor of History.

The King of Qin seeks to unite the warring provinces of his kingdom as his own life is threatened by three feared assassins. Nameless, a low-ranking defense offcial played by Jet Li, brings news and proof that he has killed the assassins. But, can the king trust his detailed and heroic story? With dazzling costumes and special effects, Nameless’ brave encounter with the assassins is examined in multiple tellings of the story.


ChinaFest 2017 Acknowledgements, with thanks to:

Our committee members for their devotion and hard work: Dr. Irby Brown, former Co-Chair, Rose Nan-Ping Chen, Co-Chair, Cheryl Clark, Cathy Hinton, Kathryn Gray, Mary Nelson, Franklin Propert and Bertie Selvey. Dean Martha Merritt and her team at the Office of International Education, University of Richmond, for its generous support; Professor Jessica Chan and Professor Gengsong Gao for their participation in our film selections as well as discussion with the audiences. Molly Fair for help with obtaining the films and Michael Warchol for his invaluable support.

Our programming partners for their behind-the scenes coordination and support: Peggy Watson of UR Osher Lifelong Learning Institute: Celeste Fetta, Lulan Yu, Merenda Woodward and staff members of Art and Education Division and many others at the VMFA.

Our distinguished speakers for their outstanding scholarship and contributions. Our many presenters for sharing their time and talents.

Our deepest gratitude to all the contact persons, coordinators and volunteers who made ChinaFest truly a community effort.

The Twelfth Annual ChinaFest is made possible by: The Rose Group for Cross-Cultural Understanding; WestRock Foundation; County of Henrico; Dominion; The Anne Carter Robins & Walter R. Robins, Jr. Foundation; University of Richmond (UR); Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA); Virginia Film Offce; Evergreen Enterprises; The Peachtree House Foundation; The Rock Foundation.

List of Supporters
In-kind donors: The Embassy of People’s Republic of China in the U.S. in Washington, D.C.; Universal Leaf; Bill and Bertie Selvey.

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