A/Prof Helen Leung, SFU
A/Prof Helen Leung, SFU

The RUPC in conjunction with the Asian Cultural Research Network welcomes you to the following event:

Public Lecture: “Hollywood North and Its Transpacific Turn: Exploring Film Location and Urban Identity”

A/Prof Helen Leung, Simon Fraser University, Canada

Abstract: As “Hollywood North,” Vancouver has long served as a versatile site for runaway productions, generating more than $1 billion in annual revenue for the province and viewed as a model for other cities to develop their own film service industry. At the same time, this success is viewed with ambivalence by many cultural producers. It is frequently lamented that Vancouver “never plays itself” on screen. Most often, it serves as “no place” or “any place” for foreign productions that value the city’s tax incentive, skilled labour force, and convenient time zone more than its distinctive cultural character. Dependence on Hollywood also renders the industry vulnerable to competition from other cities and susceptible to uncontrollable external factors such as an unfavourable exchange rate or protectionist domestic U.S. policies. Given Vancouver’s long history of Asian migration, with deep kinship ties that continue to facilitate mobility of labour and capital across the pacific, it is no surprise that both the state and the industry are exploring alternative initiatives and partnerships with Asia’s rising film industries.

This lecture examines Vancouver’s transpacific film initiatives and their significance for the city’s economic as well as cultural aspirations. It takes a close-up look at the works of Holiday Pictures, an independent production company that has been striking an interesting balance between line producing Asian films, negotiating Asia-Canada co-productions, as well as nurturing local Asian Canadian filmmakers whose films use Vancouver as a setting rather than mere location. Arguing for Vancouver as not just a local case but exemplary of dilemmas faced by “film cities” around the world in an era of globalization, the lecture will also explore the impact of film location sites on a city’s urban character, cultural identity, and sense of place.

Date: Wednesday 2 September, 5:30pm-6:30pm

Venue: Theatre D, Old Arts (Building 149), The University of Melbourne, Parkville

Speaker Bio: Helen Hok-Sze Leung (BA, Oxford; MA, Ph.D. UW-Madison) is Associate Professor at Simon Fraser University. She has published widely on queer cinema and is the author of Undercurrents: Queer Culture and Postcolonial Hong Kong and Farewell My Concubine: A Queer Film Classics. She co-edits the Queer Asia book series at Hong Kong University Press and serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Chinese Cinemas (Routledge) and TSQ:Transgender Studies Quarterly (Duke). She is currently working on two research projects: Vancouver as Asian City, which examines transpacific connections in Vancouver’s film and culture industries; and The Sound of Queer Cinema, which explores queer cinema through sonic perspectives. Between 2015-2016, she is the Faculty of Arts Visiting Scholar at the School of Culture and Communication at The University of Melbourne.

RSVP: This is a free and public lecture. To register for this event, please visit the event registration web page.

This seminar is co-hosted by the Research Unit in Public Cultures and the Asia Cultural Research Network in conjunction with the Media, Mobilities, and Identities in the Asia-Pacific Conference.

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