Tradition and Innovation in Chinese Animation (2021)

  • Talk Show
  • 1h 38m

Chaired by Xiaogu and Giulia D’aquila


Chen Bo, Director of the Production Department, Shanghai Animation Film Studio Chang Guangxi, former Director of Shanghai Animation Film Studio, one of the most experienced animators in China. Director of Lotus Lantern (1999). The first commercial feature Chinese animation.

Summary of some of the contents


  • The Founders – The Wan Brothers (1926-1941)

  • The history of the establishment of Shanghai Animation Film Studio: The founding concept of SAFS; The definition of “Fine Art Film” in Chinese context; The similarities and differences between SAFS and the major animation studios in the West at that time; The concept of “the Chinese School of Animation”

  • Papercutting Animation / Ink Animation / Paperfolding Animation (1957-1965)

  • The influence of Monkey King: Havoc in Heaven: The Beijing Opera inspired images and background music.

  • The techniques of Ink Animation: Where is Mama? / The Cowboy’s Flute / Feeling from the Mountains and Waters

  • Memories of working at SAFS: Mr. Chang Guangxi

  • Feature films and TV series (1979-1990)

  • Nezha Conquers the Dragon King: China’s first colourful widescreen animated feature film; Mr. Chang Guangxi shares his experience of making the famous scene of Nezha’s suicide:

  • TV Series: Black Cat Detective; 《自古英雄出少年》Chang Guangxi, the director; The difference between short films and TV series. Mention about other popular Animation TV series the SAFS has done.

  • Other points:

Taking “Monkey King: Havoc in Heaven (1961)” as an example, Chang Guangxi talks about the memories of joining SAFS and the experience of working with and learning from Mr. Wan (the founder of Chinese animation). The film uses Peking Opera masks as the design element, and the music and performance methods draw lessons from the essence of traditional Chinese opera, so as to establish the Chinese School of Animation.

“Where is Mama? (1960)” initiated the technical exploration of ink animation, and later produced a total of four ink animations, they are “The Cowboy’s Flute (1963)”, “Feeling from Mountains and Waters (1988)” and “The Deer’s Bell (1982)”. Since then, ink animations in the field of animation have emerged, which is also the iconic technical invention of SAFS.

  • The pioneer of Chinese commercial animation exploration Mr. Chang Guangxi, director of Lotus Lantern (1999) Creative experience The difference between traditional animation and commercial animation Follow-up impact and market feedback

  • Restoration, re-release, distribution and overseas promotion of the films. The remastered version of “The Legend of Heaven” will be shown, and the remastered and partly remake of “Monkey King: Havoc in Heaven (3D)” will be released. The selection and planning of SAFS’S feature and short films for the first-time overseas release of many remastered versions at Chinese Cinema Season.


  • The commercial animations in China – popularity and financially success
  • The needs and development trend of Chinese animation at the moment.
  • The plans and strategies of SAFS – emphasis on both commercial and artistic value; both tradition and innovation, with a variety of forms.
  • The exploration and continuation of the classic IP of SAFS: Music Up: Reborn Episode
  • The bullet screen comments culture and cross-field IP initiated by Bilibili
  • The reality themed Chinese animation
  • The new Snow Kid – contemporary urban family fairy-tale. An improvement of the original image and associated with the Winter Olympics. The original design of Snow Kid by Mr. Chang Guangxi
  • The breakthrough and prospect of Chinese Ink animation Goral Stagecoach – upcoming feature ink animation film: Retaining the freehand brushwork and grand features of Chinese painting while supplemented by a variety of film language; Combine modern production technology with traditional technology to optimize the ink painting process
  • Chinese story and East Asian elements / CG animation – Monkey King: Flaming Mountains. In the next eight to ten years, both domestic and international teams will make great efforts to produce a number of animated blockbusters featuring the image of Monkey King.
  • The expression of natural environment in the film of SAFS Environmental protection concept - the influence on the thoughts and ideas of the younger generation
  • Collaboration with international companies with technology and investments. Chinese story, combined with the different technologies; Chinese characteristics, attract domestic and overseas animation talents
  • Expectations for the cooperation between China and the UK in the animation industry
  • With more than 200 works in its film archive, will SAFS consider the mode of developing its own platform (like Disney+)?


Mandarin, English


United Kingdom