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Students at China's top drama academy struggle with the complexities of modern China to stage the American musical "Fame."
Students at China's top drama academy struggle with the complexities of modern China to stage the American musical "Fame."
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66 backers pledged $11,153 to help bring this project to life.

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UPDATE 2 -- We are invited to present "The Road to Fame" at the 3rd CNEX Chinese Documentary Forum (CCDF). http://ccdf.cnex.org.tw/ CCDF is the premier forum to promote work-in-progress documentaries from the Greater China region. This is another great chance for us to meet potential buyers and production partners who are interested in stories about China.

UPDATE 1 -- We've just been picked by IFP, the most prestigious independent film organization in the country, as one of the 165 new films in development to be showcased at its esteemed Project Forum in September 2012! It'll be an incredible opportunity to meet with film festival programmers, broadcasters and distributors to promote the film!

Hello Kickstarters

Have you ever wondered where Chinese superstars Gong Li, Zhang Ziyi and Jiang Wen got started? Are you curious whether China is as successful in churning out movie stars as it is with Olympic gold medalists? 

Then come support “The Road to Fame” and help bring this coming-of-age story to a worldwide audience! 

“The Road to Fame” follows students from the graduating class at China's top drama academy as they attempt to stage “Fame,” the Broadway musical based on the 1980 hit movie. The stakes are high in China’s first official collaboration with Broadway – it sits on significant government funding, and if successful, the production might tour commercially.

At first glance, these Chinese students appear no different from the American characters they play on stage. But a deeper look reveals their intense anxieties with unique Chinese characteristics. They resent the corruption of showbiz in China, where money and connections do the talking. The first generation raised under the country's "one-child" policy, these kids are spoiled and lonely growing up – prone to discouragement in the face of obstacles in an adult world. They feel entitled to a comfortable lifestyle with cars, cash and real estate, and at the same time suffer tremendous pressure from family expectations. They also struggle with pedantic Chinese teachers and the conformity of Chinese culture in asserting their individuality. 

Through the ups and downs of rehearsing “Fame” and preparing to graduate, these students learn to search for their confidence – their own voice – and their own path to success, however elusive it may appear. By telling this story, I hope to paint an intimate portrait of a modern China in transition, shaped by the hopes and frustrations of this post-80s generation.

Why Kickstarter? When I see a great story I want to tell, I just dive in. In 2004, I took a break from my Silicon Valley career and moved to China to pursue my film-making dream. Uninspired by commercial film production, I made a feature documentary, “Beijing or Bust,” about why six Chinese Americans moved “back” to China and their experience living in Beijing. The movie aired on PBS, but soon enough, I found myself back in the Internet industry, this time in China. Last year, I quit my job so I could focus full-time on finishing “The Road to Fame.” (By the way, check out the other feature documentary I’m producing, "Zanta.") 

I’m an entrepreneur at heart so I like to bootstrap everything. For “Beijing or Bust,” I wrote, directed and shot the film while teaching myself how to edit by Googling my questions. But “The Road to Fame” is different – it has many more characters; its themes are complex; and it requires much higher production and post-production values. So far, I have funded the project entirely out of my own pocket. To complete the film we need more money to hire an experienced post-production crew. 

(If you would like to make a tax deductible donation through our fiscal sponsor ARTS ENGINE, please contact the filmmaker directly.) 

More importantly, we would like to have your support in publicizing this film. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. Encourage your friends to do the same. Donate $1. Donate $10 and get a digital download of my first feature documentary, “Beijing or Bust.” Stay involved in whatever way you can! More importantly, let’s work together to make these kids shine like stars, if only for 90 minutes in the film! 

Stay Connected

Stay in touch via social media to receive the latest updates on "The Road to Fame"!

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Other Resources

If you would like to know more about the film, as well as its settings, the following are some good resources to check out:

Official Sites

Broadway in China

Central Drama AcademyFame the Musical

Fame Network

Chinese Youth

Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 1 or more About US$ 1.00

    FAN --- Thanks for being a fan! Please encourage your friends to like us on Facebook.

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    GROUPIE --- Now you are a groupie and you get a digital download of "Beijing or Bust," the director's first feature documentary. We will also acknowledge your contribution on our website's Thank You page.

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    UNDERSTUDY --- You are getting closer to the action! In addition to everything a Groupie gets, you'll get to attend a private online screening of the film before its worldwide premier!

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    ENTERTAINER --- In addition to everything a Groupie gets, you'll get a digital download or DVD copy of "The Road to Fame" when it is officially released on DVD, so you can entertain your friends and family.

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    IDOL --- In addition to everything an Entertainer gets, we'll idolize you by incorporating a video message from you into your personalized digital download or DVD of "The Road to Fame."

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    Pledge US$ 250 or more About US$ 250

    CELEBRITY --- In addition to everything an Idol gets, we will make you a celebrity by 1) listing your name in the Special Thanks section of the film's credit roll; 2) creating a special film trailer including a 15-second video message from you and promoting it on our website and Youtube.

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    ARTIST --- Now you are an Artist, you'll be invited to help shape the film by joining a screening of the rough cut and providing valuable feedback before we lock the film. Of course you'll get whatever a Celebrity gets too.

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    SUPER STAR --- A superstar will be invited to a festival screening of your choice wherever "The Road to Fame" screens (transportation and lodging not included). We'll provide two tickets and a carpet of some sort (color TBD) so that you'll feel like a super star!

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    Pledge US$ 2,500 or more About US$ 2,500

    ASSISTANT PRODUCER --- Nothing beats being a producer! You'll receive an Assistant Producer credit for "The Road to Fame" at this level.

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    Pledge US$ 5,000 or more About US$ 5,000

    ASSOCIATE PRODUCER --- It usually takes years to climb up the showbiz ladder but you have just become an Associate Producer. Congratulations!

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Funding period

- (30 days)