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Contributing to the growing debates on children and media worldwide, Little Friends explores the pervasive presence of film culture in the lives of children in China. The book also introduces the work of the little-known Children's Film Studio and the Film Course, a reform-period attempt by Chinese filmmakers and policy leaders to control the media to which schoolchildren were exposed. Stephanie Donald uses expansive firsthand interviews, children's drawings, and film history to tell a compelling cinematic story before it is forgotten in the onrush of globalized culture. She is especially careful to bring in the interests and experiences of children themselves. The book follows the trajectory of contemporary media analysis in privileging the use as well as the content of media. The author's "turn" to the end-user enriches her discussion of media literacy, cultural competencies, andperhaps especially in the Chinese caseconsideration of the desired uses of media in relation to state priorities and social expectations. This is a trend that belongs to an era of digital experimentation and commercial development; in interactive television, streamed news and entertainment, and the multiple, unintended uses of Internet and mobile technologies. Notwithstanding the contemporary context, Donald's arguments consider a range of media deployment that, although not especially new in technological terms, offer new insights into a formalized Chinese media system for children. Scholars and students of Asian and children's film and education will find this unique work a fascinating window into Chinese culture and society and a provocative exploration of media culture.
About the Author
Stephanie Donald is professor of Chinese media studies, University of Sydney.