A Brief History of Dong Hua: Taster

It all began in 1922. Between 1922 and 45 was a period when China discovered and explored animation for itself. The main force behind early Chinese animation were three classically trained art students from Shanghai, the Wan brothers, who taught themselves the techniques of animation from studying 20s American cartoons such as Out of the Ink Well, Popeye and Betty Boop. The very first Dong Hua movie, “Uproar In the Studio”, was born in 1926 in a 7 square metre room in Zha Bei district of Shanghai.

After a series of commercials and nationalist propaganda during the Japanese invasion, the first animated short film with sound, “Dance of the Camel” was completed in 1935. Disney’s “Snow White” was a huge success in China, so much so that China decided to make its own version. “Iron Fan Princess” hit the screens in 1941. Based on a story from the Chinese classic Journey to the West, it recounts how Wukong, the Monkey King borrows an expandable fan from the princess and defeats the evil ox demon. Very much in the style of “Snow White”, with the design of Wukong based on Mickey Mouse, “Iron Fan Princess” was the first long animated movie in Asia.

Chinese animation grew steadily from the mid 40s to mid 50s, animation went from black and white to colour, adopted children’s stories as its main subject matter, and in terms of style moved towards folk traditions

First delivered for China Day and the UK Premier of “Stormriders: Clash of Evils” at Amecon 2008, Leceister University.

Works featured:

Uproar in the Studios, Wan Brothers (1926)
“Dance of the Camel” (1935)
“Princess Iron Fan” (1941)
“Why is the Crow Black?” (1955)
“Conceited General”, Jin Xi, (1956)
“Crossing Monkey Mountain” (1958)
“Where is Mama?”, Te Wei (1961)
“Uproar in Heaven”, Wan Lai Ming (1964)
“Little Heroines of the Prairies” (1965)
“Ne Zha Conquers the Dragon King” (1979)
“The Black Cat Detective” (1984)
“Adventures of San Mao” (1984)
“The Calabash Brothers” (1986)
“Heroes of the Sui & Tang”, (TV series 2002)
“Thru the Moebius Strip” (2005)
“Qin’s Moon” (2007)
“Sparklig Red Star” (2007)
“Storm Riders: Clash of Evils”, Dante Lam (2008)
“Ori Princess” (2011)

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