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Preserving classic Chinese cartoons
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It has been more than 80 years since Wan Laiming, the father of Chinese animation, created the first cartoon short "Uproar in the Art Studio" in 1926.

Now you can watch it and see a character emerge from a canvas.

A new "animation art corridor" gives cartoon lovers a picture of Chinese animation, from its "golden age" from the 1950s-80s to its decade-long decline due to Western competition.

The industry at this time is trying to reinvent itself and come up with memorable animation with Chinese elements, not Japanese or Western.

The underground corridor has been launched by the Shanghai Animation Film Studio at its site. It can be visited by groups with advance reservations.

The corridor features posters and pictures of well-known Chinese cartoon works and distinctive characters such as the Monkey King, the Calabash Brothers and the Warrior.

It also screens classic cartoon films and showcases properties used in production. There's a simulated studio of the popular puppet movie "Xiyue Qitong" ("Saving Mother"), screened in 2006.

Veteran animation directors will give talks on the concepts and technologies used in cartoon production.

"We hope to arouse public concern for the domestic cartoon industry," says Wang Tianyun, director of the Shanghai Animation Film Studio. "This will serve as a 'second classroom' in cultivating students' enthusiasm for the art of animation."

(Shanghai Daily February 15, 2008)

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