Lydia M. Chen is an independent writer and director with a strong background in Chinese studies and art. She holds an M.J./M.A. in journalism and Asian studies from the University of California at Berkeley, where she received her documentary filmmaking training. She received her B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College, where she studied studio arts. She lived in Beijing, China in the late 1980s and again in 1997-2003, working at the American Chamber of Commerce when China entered the WTO. Upon returning to the United States, she has been immersed in Chinese studies through her roles as associate director of the Center for East Asian Studies at Stanford University, 2003-2008, and executive director of the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies at Harvard University, 2008-2014.
She is producing “Art in Smog” (working title) which examines how Beijing artists navigate the murky atmosphere of material interests, political sensitivities, and inner turmoils, as China speeds ahead with modernization. Following artists first interviewed 25 years ago, it will be a sequel to her earlier documentary Inner Visions: Avant-Garde Art in China (1993, Filmakers Library), which premiered at the Hawaii International Film Festival, received a Bronze