"Ironman is Now Chinese: The Importance of Film Co-Production in Sino-US Digital & Media Joint Ventures"
Mon, February 25, 2013 • 4:00 PM • BMC 5.102
Talk by Aynne Kokas
In my book manuscript, Shot in Shanghai: Blockbusters, Social Networks and the Story of Sino-U.S. Media Convergence, I argue that Sino-U.S. film co-production activity acts a model for other forms of Sino-U.S. media collaborations in China ranging from animation and commercials to the digital distribution of film and video on Chinese social networks. In this talk, I will introduce two key concepts that shape Sino-U.S. media co-production activity in China: the production ecosystem and the growth of a new comprador in media production. I theorize the production ecosystem as the transnational production space that evolves through the intersection of state-owned production facilities with transnational production work groups. The idea of the comprador is a loan word from the late Qing dynasty referring to the work of merchants who acted as cultural brokers between Mainland China and European concessions, but that has renewed life in the period following China’s accession to the WTO. In order to ground my analysis, I will bring in case studies of Sino-U.S. media collaborations ranging from the digital distribution of Disney films to the production of Survivor: China. By exploring the role of the production ecosystem and the comprador first in film co-productions, and then in digital & other media joint ventures, I highlight key cultural processes that are shaping the internationalization of contemporary Chinese media industries writ large.
Aynne Kokas, Ph.D., is the Baker Institute fellow in Chinese media and a sustainability postdoctoral fellow at the Chao Center for Asian Studies at Rice University. Kokas’ current research focuses on the circulation of U.S. environmental media on Chinese social networks. She also has written extensively about the challenges and opportunities presented by public-private partnerships in Sino-U.S. joint ventures, with particular focus on the media industries. Kokas has been a Fulbright scholar and a Social Science Research Council fellow in Shanghai, a Foreign Language and Area Studies grantee in Taipei, and a Chinese Ministry of Education fellow in Beijing. Fluent in Mandarin Chinese and Spanish, Kokas also speaks German and Korean. In addition to conducting research in Sino-U.S. industrial relations, Kokas has also worked as management consultant focusing on Chinese market entry strategy. She holds a B.A. from the University of Michigan and a Ph.D. from UCLA.