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Zhongyu Wang ‘19: LGBT Screenplays

Project Date:
Project Date: Summer 2019

A portfolio of LGBT-themed short films and feature screenplays-in-development, with the broad goal of raising the LGBT awareness of mainstream audiences.

About the Project

My Benenson award supported the development of a portfolio of work that encompasses the diverse genres of LGBT films and literature, ranging from fantasy/magic realism, to coming-of-age romance, to pieces with ethnic/cultural intersectionality. Through the process of developing these projects, I learned how to incorporate a supposedly niche subject into various mainstream genres, so as to raise LGBT awareness of mainstream audiences. Indeed, my future goal as a filmmaker is to integrate the marginal, niche experiences into the taste of popular media, using a diverse range of genre films to comment on social issues, especially the Asian and LGBT experiences.

A mistake that I made was that at the stage of the project proposal, I figured I wanted to work on the issue of prostitution only. I found this approach a bit narrow when I thought about it. The project may be a better fit for a documentary, but with mainstream narrative films, I want to debunk the popular association of gay youths with prostitution and promiscuity. In the series of projects I developed over summer, all of the stories focused on the theme of love, and downplayed the element of sex.

The outcome of these projects are a series of attempts and experiments to incorporate LGBT themes into the taste of popular audiences. By losing the so-called “gay peculiarities” of many gay movies today, these projects eschew most of the stereotypes of the LGBT culture and lean back to the bigger theme of “Love is Love” and could possibly find their audiences among the general population.

My next step is to turn one or more of the short scripts into actual short films with the resources of USC. I’m further expanding “Ascension” into a 10-min short and completing the feature film script.

About the Artist

Zhongyu (Robin) Wang is an award-winning director and screenwriter. He recently graduated from Duke University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English and is now an MFA candidate in Film & Television Production at the University of Southern California.

Robin was born in Xi’an, China in 1995, and decided to study abroad to pursue his passions for filmmaking. He attended his high school at Hwa Chong Institution in Singapore at 15 under scholarship.

It was in U.S.A. that he gradually picked up his filmmaking professionalism. His first narrative short film at Duke, SWITCH, had garnered awards and recognition from thirteen international film festivals and competitions since its release in April, 2017. His second short film, Fair Faults, won the Award of Merit at the IndieFest film awards. The Gift of Winter marked the culmination of his undergraduate filmmaking career before he heads to USC. To date, he has directed three narrative short films and one documentary.

In future, Robin plans on pursuing filmmaking in L.A. He seeks to pursue more projects that address the LGBT and the intersectional cultural experiences.