Inaugural Liberal Arts + Forum in Shanghai Focused on Film Education, Collaborations

President Michael Roth moderated a discussion with alumni in the entertainment field, from left, Jon Turteltaub '85, Julia Zhu '91, and Jon Hoeber '93, on "practical idealism in action" at the inaugural Liberal Arts + forum in Shanghai on Oct. 20.

President Michael Roth moderated a discussion with alumni in the entertainment field—from left, Jon Turteltaub ’85, Julia Zhu ’91, and Jon Hoeber ’93—on “practical idealism in action” at the inaugural Liberal Arts + forum in Shanghai on Oct. 20.

On Oct. 20, Wesleyan held its inaugural Liberal Arts + forum in Shanghai, China. This year, the forum focused on film education and U.S.-China film collaborations, and featured discussions between three alumni in the entertainment industry; President Michael Roth; and Scott Higgins, director of the College of Film and the Moving Image. Each year, the forum will highlight a different area of liberal arts education for an audience of prospective families, alumni, and the general public in China.

The centerpiece of this public event, which was attended by approximately 80 people, was a panel discussion featuring Jon Hoeber ’93 and Jon Turteltaub ’85, screenwriter and director of the summer blockbuster, The Meg, as well as Julia Zhu ’91, a media and entertainment expert and entrepreneur and CEO of Phoenix TV Culture and Live Entertainment Company. Roth moderated the discussion, titled, “Practical Idealism in Action,” in which the three alumni described how their liberal arts educations prepared them for successful careers in the entertainment industry.

The three later shared insights into the future of film collaborations between the U.S. and China, in a conversation moderated by Higgins, who is also the Charles W. Fries Professor of Film Studies, chair of Film Studies, and curator of the Wesleyan Cinema Archives.

Higgins also offered a simulated film studies class for prospective students and others in the audience—bringing the Wesleyan liberal arts film education experience to Shanghai.

Higgins said of the Forum: “I learned a lot about how the Chinese and American media industries are interacting, and renewed my long-time interest in Chinese cinema. I also met with a few recent graduates who are now making commercials and short films in the country, and was introduced to a whole new generation who are just now applying to Wesleyan. It was touching to be so far away from Middletown and yet feel connected to our ever-growing community.”

Watch a video (created by Chengjun Huang) of the forum highlights below:


Additional photos (taken by Weiji Sun) of the forum are below:

Front row, from left, Julia Zhu, Scott Higgins, and Michael Roth.

Front row, from left, Julia Zhu ’91, Scott Higgins, and President Michael Roth.

Higgins also offered a simulated Film Studies class during the forum.

Higgins also offered a simulated film studies class during the forum.

Jon Hoeber '93 has worked in a diverse array of genres and formats during his 20 years in Hollywood, and recently was screenwriter of The Meg. Other highlights of his career include Red, Red 2, and Battleship.

Jon Hoeber ’93 has worked in a diverse array of genres and formats during his 20 years in Hollywood, and recently was screenwriter of The Meg. Other highlights of his career include Red, Red 2, and Battleship.

Jon Turteltaub '85 spoke with attendees at the forum. Turteltaub has been a leading producer and director of hit movies for the past 25 years, and is known for such films as Cool Runnings, While You Were Sleeping, Phenomenon, National Treasure, National Treasure: Book of Secrets, and The Meg, among many others.

Jon Turteltaub ’85 spoke with attendees at the forum. Turteltaub has been a leading producer and director of hit movies for the past 25 years, and is known for such films as Cool Runnings, While You Were Sleeping, Phenomenon, National Treasure, National Treasure: Book of Secrets, and The Meg, among many others.

Attendees peruse the latest issue of Wesleyan magazine.

Attendees peruse the latest issue of Wesleyan magazine.

From left, Scott Higgins, Professor Haibo Liu, Julia Zhu, Jon Hoeber, and Jon Turteltaub.

From left, Scott Higgins, Professor Haibo Liu, Julia Zhu, Jon Hoeber, and Jon Turteltaub.

Wesleyan parent volunteers at the forum.

Wesleyan parent volunteers at the forum.