The American Film Institute on November 11 unveiled the AFI/IDG China Story Fellowship to develop feature-length screenplays that foster “greater understanding of Chinese history, culture and literature.”

IDG Greater China underwrites the effort to provide nine AFI Fellows with travel to China for cultural research. 

The participants will write a feature screenplay and receive a full scholarship for their second year at the AFI Conservatory, where they may develop the work.

The AFI China Story Fellowship programme stems from a leadership grant from IDG China and represents part of the AFI Conservatory’s increase in scholarship opportunities for current and incoming Fellows.

Earlier this year, Paige Devitt, Derek Ustruck and Lindsay Golder were selected from the AFI screenwriting discipline to be the first recipients of the AFI China Story Fellowships. After the summer’s immersive experience in China, they returned this autumn to begin their second year at the AFI Conservatory.  

“China’s rich cultural legacy is filled with stories waiting to be shared with an eager global audience,” said AFI president and CEO Bob Gazzale. “We are honoured to launch this new initiative with IDG Greater China, giving voice to the best and brightest storytellers of tomorrow.”

“Although China has a remarkable and distinguished history stretching back more than 5,000 years, too many Americans only know Chinese culture through animated films like Kung Fu Panda and Mulan,” said IDG Greater China chairman Hugo Shong, who is also founding general partner of IDG Capital Partners.

“Americans deserve to see other types of movies about China, ones that hopefully can entertain them, educate them and at the same time touch their hearts. By initiating this project with AFI, I am hoping that together we can jointly encourage a new generation of American screenwriters to produce more and different kinds of screenplays about China.”