The initial work for this volume began in the spring of 2001, with a touring
film program I co-organized with Zhijie Jia, as well as an accompanying
symposium at New York University. I am grateful to the four filmmakers, in
particular Ning Ying and Wang Quan’an, who actively took part in the sym-
posium. Robert Sklar and Rebecca Karl, both of NYU, and Richard Peña of
Columbia University, graciously served as panel moderators. Richard was also
instrumental, in his capacity as the program director of the Film Society at
Lincoln Center, in helping us get the ‘‘Urban Generation’’ on the calendar of
the Walter Reade Theater. Tom Bender, Director of the International Center
for Advanced Studies at NYU, provided crucial support for the symposium,
recognizing the relevance of the symposium to the center’s comparative proj-
ect on Cities and Urban Knowledges. Mary Schmidt Campbell, Dean of the
Tisch School of the Arts, and Chris Straayer, Chair of the Department of
Cinema Studies, gave me much needed moral and financial support. Thanks
are also due to NYU’s programs in Asia Pacific Studies and East Asian Studies
and its Humanities Council, as well as the Asian Cultural Council, the China
Institute and New York Women and Film, for their support. Among many
other individuals at NYU whose contributions were indispensable for the
project as a whole, Shi-yan Chao, Xiangyang Chen, Lucas Hilderbrand, Mai
Kiang, Charles Leary, Jeryl Martin-Hannibal, and Augusta Palmer deserve
special mention. I am also grateful to Chris Berry, Adam Chau, Yoshikuni
Igarashi, Tom Gunning, Miriam Hansen, and Wu Hung for providing me
with additional venues for discussing the project and constructive comments,
and to Harry Harootunian for bringing the volume to Duke University Press.
I appreciate much the editorial assistance from Reynolds Smith and Sharon
Torian at Duke, who cheered me on along the way. With unwavering enthusi-
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