Lion Dance

LION DANCE is a romantic visual poem set during a traditional Asian parade in which a highly acrobatic dance is performed to bring good luck. It explores the theme of serendipity using a combination of CG, 2D animation techniques, and a soundtrack to express the rhythmic and pulsating emotion and actions of the characters. LION DANCE is the MFA thesis film of Zheng Kang and Tim Pattinson, USC School of Cinematic Arts class of 2016.

  • Tim Pattinson
  • Zheng Kang
  • Tim Pattinson
  • Zheng Kang
  • Tim Pattinson
  • Project Type:
    Animation, Short, Student
  • Genres:
    Romance, Action, Romcom
  • Runtime:
    5 minutes 59 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    May 13, 2016
  • Production Budget:
    11,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Tim Pattinson, Zheng Kang

TIM PATTINSON is a British-born professional designer, working in the animation industry. Based in Los Angeles, Tim has many years of award-winning commercial design and art direction leading global teams on global projects. Tim holds an MFA in Animation and Digital Arts from John C Hench Division of USC’s School of Cinematic Arts, class of 2016. Tim’s personal and professional works are heavily influenced by contemporary Western and Asian TV animation and cinema. His portfolio reflects his own sensibilities and beliefs in the importance of diversity, inclusion and collaboration within art and storytelling.

ZHENG KANG is a Chinese-born professional designer, working in the animation industry. Based in Los Angeles, Zheng’s experience encompasses award-winning industrial, graphic and animation design direction. Zheng holds an MFA in Animation and Digital Arts from John C Hench Division of USC’s School of Cinematic Arts, class of 2016. Zheng’s creative vision and highly-stylized commercial sensibilities can be seen throughout his personal and professional works, which are grounded in solid draftsmanship and peppered with his own humor and subjects of interest such as K-pop and fashion. His approach is diversely collaborative, forming the open-minded and optimistic essence of Zheng’s storytelling portfolio.

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Director Statement

LION DANCE is a film for global audiences, showcasing strong universal themes, born from a truly cross-cultural influence (Chinese and British directors, with an American education, and a Production Team spanning 5 continents).

We deliver a story rich in authentic Asian character, environment and sound creation. Our world is contemporary yet classic, and our audio and visual designs further establish this. Our starring characters, Ayumi and Jian, expand representation of the Asian community in a way that is not misogynistic and does not contribute to the oppression of ethnic and racial minorities.

Ayumi and Jian are very important characters, in terms of global media. Asian men in Western media are often emasculated and presented under the guise of a multitude of stereotypes. They are rarely cast as viable romantic leads, instead being relegated to the role of the “math-geek”, “fool” or “martial artist” that exhibits no sexual desire or some other trite and cliched stereotype. Regardless of the role, they are often at the butt end of jokes. In our film we challenge this, by making Jian a strong and masculine romantic lead. Asian women in Western media are fetishized and are stereotypically portrayed as “exotic” and “submissive.” Where exceptions apply, and an Asian women character exhibits confidence or aggression, she would then primarily be nothing more than “the sex symbol.” We challenge this, making Ayumi an independent and confident woman, and the comedy lead of our 2 starring characters.

In a recent report by the University of Southern California Annenberg’s Media, Diversity, & Social Change Initiative, researchers found that of the 700 most popular films from 2007 to 2014, only 30% of the 30,835 evaluated speaking characters were women, and that percentage has stayed relatively stagnant over time.

With our film, and our confident, strong Asian Female and Asian Male leads, we hope to help change this.There are many positive effects of having strong role models in television and film. For example, studies have shown that watching strong, positive women can negate the effects of more harmful content like violence. Children also notice when people who look like them are not as represented in the media, and that can have harmful effects. We believe that Ayumi and Jian must be the future of film.