Daniel Hsia is a filmmaker and comedy writer who has worked on the television comedies “PSYCH,” “ANDY BARKER, P.I.,” and “FOUR KINGS,” and has sold original pilot screenplays to Sony Pictures Television, ABC Network, and USA Network. SHANGHAI CALLING is his first feature film.
Daniel’s interest in the expat world was sparked when a close friend, a young man who had never been abroad, moved to China and began relating to Daniel the hilarious experiences of Americans living there. Convinced there was a compelling story to be told, Daniel spent two months roaming around Shanghai, interviewing locals and foreigners about their lives and absorbing every detail the city had to offer. Midway through Daniel’s trip, the story for SHANGHAI CALLING was born.
Daniel is an alumnus of Stanford University and USC’s Graduate Program in Film Production. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Mary, and dog, Jetpack.
Follow him on Twitter: @danielhsia
SHANGHAI CALLING is my love letter to Shanghai — the city where both of my parents are from, a place I traveled extensively while researching the screenplay, and a second home that I have grown immensely fond of over the past several years.
This film is also an exploration into the fascinating lives of American “immigrants” on the other side of the world. As one of the characters in SHANGHAI CALLING points out, Americans living abroad call themselves “expats” rather than “immigrants,” perhaps because the latter term brings to mind “poor, huddled masses” rather than the sophisticated jet-setters we are. But with China’s rapid economic growth offering countless opportunities for American corporations and individuals, increasing numbers of Americans are now seeking jobs overseas and discovering what means to be a modern-day “immigrant.” It’s a fascinating paradigm shift for many Americans, and one that is ripe for comedy as well.
Above all, this is a film about contemporary China. Hardly a day goes by without China being mentioned by U.S. politicians, economists, The New York Times or CNN. But despite all of this attention, the majority of westerners still have no idea what is actually happening in China right now. I hope that SHANGHAI CALLING will provide a charming, entertaining, and eye-opening glimpse into modern life in this amazing and important place.
JANET YANG is a prodigious Hollywood producer who has a long, deep relationship with China.
In recent years, Yang was hired by Disney Studios to produce its highly coveted HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL for Chinese audiences. Prior to HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL, Yang produced the acclaimed film DARK MATTER, starring Chinese star Liu Ye and Meryl Streep. DARK MATTER premiered at the Sundance Film Festival 2007 and won the prestigious Alfred P. Sloan Award for “Best Narrative Feature”.
Yang’s previous productions include: Carl Franklin’s HIGH CRIMES, a military courtroom thriller starring Ashley Judd and Morgan Freeman (20th Century Fox); THE WEIGHT OF WATER, directed by Academy Award-winner Kathryn Bigelow and starring Academy Award-winner Sean Penn (Lion’s Gate Films); and ZERO EFFECT, a cult classic starring Bill Pullman and Ben Stiller.
From 1989 to 1996, Yang served as president of Ixtlan, the company she formed with Academy Award-winning writer/director Oliver Stone. At Ixtlan, she produced THE PEOPLE VS. LARRY FLYNT, which won the 1996 Golden Globe Awards for Best Director and Best Screenplay, and garnered Academy Award nominations for Best Director and Best Actor. Starring Woody Harrelson, Courtney Love, and Edward Norton, THE PEOPLE VS. LARRY FLYNT was directed by two-time Academy Award-winner Milos Forman for Columbia Pictures.
Yang was also executive producer of the groundbreaking film directed by Wayne Wang, THE JOY LUCK CLUB, based on the best-selling novel by Amy Tan and distributed by Walt Disney Pictures.
Yang executive produced and is a recipient of both the Emmy and Golden Globe Awards for Best Made for Television Movie for the HBO movie INDICTMENT: THE MCMARTIN TRIAL.
Prior to her association with Oliver Stone, Yang got her start in production working closely with Steven Spielberg and his Amblin Entertainment for the filming of the historic production of EMPIRE OF THE SUN (Warner Bros) in China.
Yang began her career in Hollywood when she represented Universal, Paramount, and MGM/UA in brokering the first sale of American studio movies to China since 1949.
Before joining MCA/Universal, Yang was president of World Entertainment. During this time, she gained the distribution rights to films produced in mainland China, including those of such internationally prominent filmmakers as Zhang Yimou and Chen Kaige.
Janet Yang holds a B.A. from Brown University in Chinese studies and an M.B.A. from Columbia University. She is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, a member of the Committee of 100, and an advisory board member of Asia Society Southern California.
Yang has been named one of the “50 Most Powerful Women in Hollywood” by The Hollywood Reporter, and has been featured in articles in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Variety. She has appeared on numerous TV and Radio shows throughout the US and China, including CCTV and Beijing TV.
Yang is fluent in Mandarin Chinese. She splits her time between Los Angeles and China.