Skip to main content

The Road To Fame

DOCUMENTARY / China / 2013 / 80 mins / Chinese, English w/ subtitles / San Francisco Premiere


China’s prestigious Central Academy of Drama was founded by Mao in 1949 as a school for proletarian cultural workers. In today’s China, a new generation of students, born after the 1979 One-Child Policy, aim for stardom in the country’s lucrative film industry. Hao Wu’s (BEIJING OR BUST) documentary follows a senior class, overseen by an American director, competing for roles in a production of the 1980s musical “Fame.” Wu’s look at China’s first official collaboration with Broadway is, on one level, an examination of cultures colliding.

The students’ wildly divergent economic situations, family pressures and job anxieties, also reveal the flip sides of China’s new reality. Chen Lei, the daughter of manual laborers, struggles to make ends meet. Meanwhile, Zhang Xiao’s father is a music industry insider who helps his son get ahead. The American instructor, Jasper, observes that it’s not your performance but who you know that determines your part in a production in the US. Despite the differences, in China, that is often just as true.


Producer: Changying Liu, Jean Tsien, Hao Wu
Cinematographer: Hao Wu, Kai P. Yang
Editor: Jean Tsien, Hao Wu
Cast: Fei, Wu Heng, Chen Lei, Yaoyao

Dates & Times

The Road To Fame

New People Cinema
March 15, 2014 4:30 pm

The Road To Fame

New People Cinema
March 21, 2014 9:00 pm