Thursday, November 30, 2023

Monkey Kingdom and the globalization of theme parks: Zhang Jizhong, Robert Weis, Brent Young among speakers at UCLA cross-cultural conference Oct 20-22

Monkey Kingdom theme park planning session

Cross-cultural conference at UCLA Oct 20-22 will feature sessions with theme park industry leaders and a focus on China

Zhang Jizhong, currently involved in the creation of a Chinese theme park based on the Monkey King legend (opening near Beijing in 2014) will give the keynote address at The “Media & Culture in Contemporary China” conference, Oct 20-22 at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Chinese producer and director Jizhong is renowned for his TV serializations of the classic Ming dynasty novels, Romance of the Three Kingdoms, The Water Margin, and Journey to the West.

Conference session topics include the globalization of theme parks, the state of the film and TV industry in contemporary China; and recreating Chinese history and classic literature in film and TV.”

Organizers say, “This conference will explore the globalization of the China entertainment industry and the impact of film and TV on public perception of history and culture in China. It aims to bring together industry leaders, artists, scholars, students, and the public. The boundaries between Hollywood and Asia are fast disappearing.”

Theme park specific sessions at the conference:

Globalization of Theme Parks: the view from the Industry
  • Moderator: R. Bin Wong, History & Director, Asia Institute, UCLA
  • Panelists:
    > Dr. Wing T Chao
    , FAIA, Master Planner and Architect
    > Bob Weis
    , Executive Vice President, Walt Disney Imagineering
    > Brent Young
    , Principal and Creative Director, Super 78 Studios
    > Shi Zhang
    , Associate Professor, UCLA Anderson School of Management
    > Thomas E. McLain, Partner, Arnold & Porter LLP and Chairman of the Asia Society Southern California
Theme Parks in China: the view from the Academy
  • Chair: David C. Kang, Professor, International Relations, USC
  • Panelists:
    > Hai
    Ren, East Asian Languages, University of Arizona, “Leisure as an Event of Self-Formation at a Chinese Theme Park
    > Dru Gladney, Anthropology, Pomona, “Nationalizing Cultures: It’s a Big World After All”
    > Susan Brownell, Anthropology, University of Missouri-St. Louis, “World Expo Shanghai 2010: Why it wasn’t a media event, but still drew 70 million spectators
    > Jay Wang, USC Center on Public Diplomacy, and Sun Shaojing, School of Journalism, Fudan University, “Experiencing cultures: Chinese visitors’ encounter with nation-brands at Shanghai Expo
  • Discussant: Yunxiang Yan, Anthropology & Director, Center for Chinese Studies, UCLA

Related articles:
“Beijing’s Monkey Kingdom theme park will be a world-class major destination and a unique offering in the theme park genre, possibly tied to a major motion picture”interview with Thinkwell CCO Craig Hanna

Monkey King Co. Ltd, a subsidiary of the real estate, financial and cultural industry investment enterprise Zhonghong Real Estate has appointed Thinkwell Group as the design firm for the highly immersive Monkey Kingdom theme park slated to open in 2014. Thinkwell has been collaborating with Zhonghong on the strategy, concept, master plan and attraction development for the park since mid 2010…   

Will AVATAR land weaken Disney Animal Kingdom branding? Super 78’s Brent Young comments

Judith Rubin
Judith Rubin
Judith Rubin ([email protected]) is a leading journalist, content marketing specialist and connector in the international attractions industry. She reports on design and technical design, production and project management, industry trends and company culture. From 2005-2020 she ran communications and publications for the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA). In 2013, she was honored with the TEA Service Award. She was development director of IMERSA and publicist for the Large Format Cinema Association, and has contributed to the publications of PLASA, IAAPA and the International Planetarium Society. Judith joined World’s Fair magazine in 1987, which introduced her to the attractions industry. She joined InPark in 2010. Judith earned a BFA from Pratt Institute. She has lived in Detroit, New York, Oakland, and now Saint Louis, where she is active in the local arts community.

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