Chinese filmmaker Wu Tianming, known as the 'Godfather of the Fifth Generation' and former head of Xi'an Film Studios, passed away from a heart attack at his home in Beijing on March 4. Responsible for a variety of important films including King of Masks and Old Well, Wu also aided in developing many important filmmakers after the Cultural Revolution and the reopening of the Beijing Film Academy. Under his tutelage directors like Zhang Yimou and Chen Kaige were able to prosper and influence the current cinematic environment and making China the second-largest film market in the world. Memorial services will be held in both Beijing and Xi'an.

The South China Morning Post reported that entertainment personalities, Jackie Chan and Feng Xiaogang, protested the current state of censorship in China at a panel discussion at the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, discussing government involvement in art and film. Jackie argued that giving film directors more freedom and less oversight will benefit the industry and investors, allowing China to be more competitive with Hollywood. Feng urged authorities to give directors more creative freedom, stating "Don't make directors tremble with fear every day like they're walking on thin ice." and "Is their (censors) patriotism, political judgement and artistic taste better than ours, the directors." As a sort of concession Feng offered a suggestion, of removing one of the two steps in the censorship process, by screening the final version without the usual vetting of scripts during the production of the film. This would ease some of the pressure involved in the process and possibly leave controversial material up to debate after the film is seen its entirety.

Finally, Gung-Ho Films, known as the first foreign-operated film and video production company in China has been very busy. This week, an episode of The Amazing Race, filmed in China, aired on CBS. In the episode, contestants scramble across Guangzhou utilizing help from the locals in finding a clue in China's largest bridal district. They were also involved with shooting some footage for the recent Oscar nominated film Her. They captured various city scenes in Shanghai to represent what Los Angeles might look like in the near future. Gung-Ho Films are proving to be the premiere production company to work with in China. Keep up the great work, guys.

More entertainment for you in the coming week:

Photo: Asia Pacific Screen Academy

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