Famous Hollywood Chinese American Actress Yan LU Pays Visit to ICCI


On June 28, famous Hollywood Chinese American actress Yan LU visited Shanghai Jiao Tong University(SJTU) and had an in-depth interview with the Dr. Anthony. T. McKenna, associate professor of cinema and screen studies of USC-SJTU Institute of Cultural & Creative Industry(ICCI). Ms. Lu smiled reminiscently and said, “The most valuable memory of my career is the time when I served as Ms. Earphone in the Grand Bright Theatre of Shanghai, where I dubbed the voice of various types of characters behind the scene. ” Ms. Yan LU worked as Ms. Earphone(translator) in the Grand Bright Theatre of Shanghai back in 1946, which built her first connection with film industry.

Ms. LU and Dr. Anthony. T. McKenna in Interview

Professor Anthony. T. McKenna, together with Ms. Tianqi YU, also the associate professor of cinema & screen studies from ICCI, had a very pleasant conversation with Ms. LU about her previous experience of being the Ms. Earphone in Shanghai’s old days. During the interview, Ms. LU shared many details including the types of films that were on screen in those days, the preparation needed for translation, the lessons she had learnt from this job and the influence that it had on her acting career later in Hollywood, etc. Recently Dr. McKenna and Kiki YU are planning on a joint research on stories of Ms. Earphones in Shanghai during 1940s and Ms. LU’s overwhelming passion towards film and acting has truly impressed them a lot.

Ms. LU with Anthony. T. McKenna(left) and Kiki Tianqi YU(right)

In early mid-1900s, American film producers provided a set of tailored translation equipment for the Grand Bright Theatre of Shanghai. By paying an extra 0.1 Yuan for the Earphone Ticket, the audience could enjoy the sweet voice of Ms. Earphone’s Chinese translation wearing a pair of headset. On Nov. 4, 1939, Hollywood film In Old Arizona starred by Warner Baxter was screened in the Grand Bright Theatre of Shanghai with Ms. Earphone’s translation, representing a milestone in Ms. Earphone’s history.

The Grand Bright Theatre of Shanghai

Ms. Earphone was a nick name for the on-site film translator behind the scene. The job screening criteria was very strict. To become a qualified Miss Earphone required exceptional language skills including solid English knowledge and fluent Chinese, good agility of thinking under pressure, sweet voice and clear articulation. “Most chosen ones that successfully passed all tests are senior college students. And the nice work environment and high salaries make it a very attractive profession. ” Added Ms. LU.

Ms. LU with Weimin ZHANG(left) and Kai ZHANG(right)

On June 29, Ms. LU visited ICCI Zizhu Education and Research Base accompanied by Weimin ZHANG, ICCI Executive Dean and Kai ZHANG, the Curator of SJTU Archives. ” I am surprised to have seen so well-equipped teaching and research facilities at SJTU in the area of cultural and creative industry, ” she said, “I hope that ICCI can bring in-house Hollywood’s top-standard curriculum and world-class faculty in order to nurture more film professionals in China. “

ICCI Executive Dean Weimin ZHANG briefly introduced ICCI as the outcome of a long-lasting collaboration between SJTU and USC, ICCI’s cultivation objectives, mission and major features. They also visited the exhibition of student works from the Master of Cinema Workshop chaired by professors from NYU TISCH that was held recently at ICCI.

Ms. LU praised the posters of microfilms produced by ICCI Class of 2016

Ms. LU visited the teaching venue of Master of Cinema Workshop

Ms. LU highly recognized ICCI’s efforts in exploring and developing its own brand new education pedagogy in the past few years. She said that with the rapid development of China’s film market, cultural and creative industries, especially the film industry, are currently in urgent needs of talented film professionals to join the cause. She encouraged ICCI to develop more courses based on Hollywood’s teaching mode and provide students more opportunities to learn from both the industry’s finest practice and top masters.

Ms. Yan LU has an acting career in Hollywood for over sixty years, and once worked with legendary actors and film directors like Marlon Brando. She held the position of life-time Jury of Oscar because of her outstanding career achievements. As an old SJTU chum, she now is very eager to make contributions to the development of film talents cultivation at SJTU. When visiting the exhibition of ICCI’s antique film cameras, Ms. LU expressed her strong desire to donate some ancient image documentation equipments to ICCI to enrich students’ learning and practice opportunity of the screen culture and film industry.

Ms. LU visited the exhibition of ICCI’s antique film cameras

Ms. Yan LU is an alumnus of SJTU(1945), who had a deep attachment to the university. In 1987, she donated the Yanyun Pavilion by Siyuan lake of Minhang Campus. In 2001, she sponsored 3 students of School of Humanities to study in the U.S. In 2003, she founded the American Film Research Centre at SJTU. As the Director of the Centre, Ms. LU provided strong intellectual supports with her outstanding artistic attainment and rich film industry experience. She donated another 100,000 RMB to fuel the further development of the Centre in 2010. Over the years, she has made a large amount of precious donations to her beloved alma mater SJTU including handwritten recipe written by Mr. Daqian ZHANG, paintings by Meilin HAN, calligraphy works specially made for her from four artists Yi Qin, Yang BAI, Ruifang ZHANG and Zongying HUANG, film scripts and posters, correspondence and photographs with celebrities in the filmdom and other fields, and a dozen of trophies with the Golden Horse Best Leading Actress Award included.