Filmmakers do far more than entertain, they enlighten. The world can become more complex when you understand others but it’s that same understanding that leads to connection. Catherine WenChun Cheng knows this all too well as a filmmaker who has been a part of many international productions. Collaborating with artists of different origins to bring the stories of people from various cultures has been an element throughout most of her career. With one foot in China and the other in the United States, Catherine was eager to take on the role of director for The Glory of Global Chinese, a multi-episodic series which displays the huge contributions of an array of Chinese citizens. Streaming on NBC’s bilingual platform XUMO (boasting twenty-four million monthly active users) in the US and CCTV in China, The Glory of Global Chinese bridges the gap between cultures in a benevolent way. Getting to know individuals from a vast country is a revealing experience for Americans. For Chinese viewers, it’s further indication that the benefits of Chinese citizens are felt throughout the world and appreciated.
Directing The Glory of Global Chinese gives Catherine an opportunity to present to both cultures how integrated professionals from China actually are in American society and how beneficial their work is. The subjects she has presented in different episodes are of diverse industries. Sunny Wang works at the Broad, developing building materials that are not only eco-friendly but also reusable for thousands of years. Eric Li has created a company called BDP which uses biological treatment technology to convert waste water into water that can be reused. Through this technology, electricity usage for waste water has been significantly reduced. Presenting complex scientific concepts such as these in an accessible manner to the viewing audience is a surmountable challenge in itself. Testifying to the diversity of those featured in this streaming series is Oscar Award–winning composer Nathan Wang who has proven the impact of Chinese talent on the American film industry. Raymond Cheng, former President of the Hong Kong Association of Southern California, is featured in an episode which illuminates his philanthropic work such as fund raising for the Boys and Girls Club as well as helping highly skilled architects from Hong Kong find opportunities to work in the US. Such a wide array of professions requires a natural flow in conversation that is easily accessible to audiences of both China and the United States. Directing is the art of presenting story and perspective; concepts Catherine proves she masterfully wields through her work on each episode of this program. Through the journey of each person interviewed, we get a sense of their unique personality and the passion which drives them to excel.
A native of Taiwan, Catherine feels deeply about the international conversation and her ability to be a positive influence. She remarks, “As a director, my ultimate goal is to create impactful and meaningful productions that resonate with the audience. I believe that this medium has the power to open dialogue and bring people together, and I hope to achieve this through my work. I aspire to tell stories that are authentic, relevant, and shed light on important issues that need to be addressed. Overall, my ultimate hope as a director is to create work that has a lasting impact and can inspire change in the world. Whether it's through shedding light on important social issues or simply providing a source of entertainment, I hope to use my work to make a positive difference in people's lives.” If there is one idea that supersedes all offered in The Glory of Global Chinese, it’s that positivity is something you can achieve whatever your profession and station in life. The tone achieved by Catherine and her collaborators on this series is overwhelming optimism. This is most certainly achieved as a product of Ms. Cheng’s skill as a storyteller but also due to her experiences internationally. By walking where others have walked, we see the “us” rather than only the “I.” Mark Twain famously said, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.” The Glory of Global Chinese will make you aware that America and indeed the rest of the world would do well to be more aware of the benevolent contributions of Chinese citizens.