70 Stories: Wen Jiang and Filmmaking Freedom

Exploring Filmmaking Freedom: Wen Jiang’s Journey

Differences in filmmaking between the United States and China

Freedom of expression is drastically different all over the world, something Wen Jiang saw firsthand when he visited Kansas City in 1992. The Chinese film actor, director, and writer wanted to explore the differences in filmmaking between the United States and China, so with the help of the Kansas City International Visitors Council (KCIVIC), now Global Ties KC, he met with the Film Commission of Greater Kansas City.

“There is a lot more freedom of all kinds for American filmmakers”

Wen Jiang

Jiang noted in an interview with The Kansas City Star, explaining that while films were often made in China challenging expectations and governmental authorities, they rarely saw the light of day due to strict censorship. “At the same time, American movies are more commercial. Everything is geared towards making money.”

Filmmaking Freedom in Kansas City

Empowered and encouraged by the filmmaking freedom in Kansas City, Jiang returned to China and continued creating films that pushed the boundaries of society. In 2000, his award-winning film Devils on the Doorstep resulted in the director being banned from making films in China for seven years.

What Was Jiang’s Journey from Kansas City to Hollywood?

Jiang’s connections with the American film industry didn’t stop with this one visit. Jiang took on Hollywood for the first time when he starred in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. From a childhood in which American movies were banned in China to starring in one of the world’s largest film franchises, it’s humbling to realize that Kansas City played a key role in this filmmaking freedom transformation!

Global Ties KC has been hosting visitors from various countries and backgrounds for decades, and each of the stories in our #70Years70Stories campaign brings its own sort of magic to our mission! Learn more and get involved here!