With the success of the 2008 animated film Kung Fu Panda, Chinese moviegoers praised the film’s depiction of Chinese culture and careful attention to details, “from the martial arts scenes to its depiction of family expectations and how the ancients were believed to pass into the afterlife.” Wu Jiang, president of the National Peking Opera Company, told the official New China News Agency, “The film’s protagonist is China’s national treasure and all the elements are Chinese, but why didn’t we make such a film?”
Now, eight years later, Kung Fu Panda 3 is DreamWorks’ first official U.S./China co-produced film opening simultaneously in the US and China on January 29. Po the kung fu-fighting panda, Oogway, Shifu, and the Furious Five return in Kung Fu Panda 3.
Thanks to the San Francisco Film Society’s Education Program, Kung Fu Panda comes to Rooftop School. On Friday, January 8th at 12:30pm, 3rd, 4th and 7th grade students will attend a special presentation with Kung Fu Panda 3’s producer Melissa Cobb and co-directors Alessandro Carloni and Jennifer Yuh Nelson (who has the distinction of being the first woman to direct a big-budget animated film for a major studio).
The film’s creative team will share how the Kung Fu Panda 3 artists researched China’s culture (architecture, food, clothing, and, of course, kung fu!) for the film. The artists were also inspired by China’s natural beauty, the country’s distinct landscapes and wildlife — including the endangered golden monkey, South China tiger, red panda, and Giant panda. We’ll get a peek at scenes from the new movie, enjoy a drawing demonstration and Q&A with the filmmakers.
Weather permitting, the entire school is invited to come to the circle for a post-presentation performance which will include a Shaolin animal-style kung fu demonstration with special guests.
There will also be an art activity available for all classes to make their own bolang gu, a Chinese rattle drum, one of the earliest toys dating back to the Song Dynasty (960-1279). Practice playing your drum with friends and use your power to speak up for Giant Pandas.
Kung Fu Panda Art
Meet the Characters of Kung Fu Panda
Meet the Creative Team
Jennifer Yuh Nelson
DreamWorks Animation invited artists, photographers, designers and illustrators worldwide to create art that illustrated Po on his journey home for Kung Fu Panda 3. Inspired by Po, his friends and all the amazing places around the world, artists went straight to work and submitted over 400 stunning submissions of Po in different continents. Whether he was fighting bulls in Spain, trying on some lederhosen in Munich, riding the train in New York, or even attending a festival in India, Po popped up in almost every landmark around the world.
Five Animals Kung Fu
The foundation of the Southern Shaolin martial art systems can be attributed to these five animals – Snake, Tiger, Leopard and Crane, and the mythological Dragon.
Part of the kung fu student’s training is to emulate the spirit and the movement of these animals. They are instructed to visit the city zoo and the library to study the quintessence nature of the animal.
Sifu Young Wong of the EY Lee Kung Fu School teaches third graders some animal style kung fu.
Panda Resources & Links:
Explore.org: Happiness Village – Pandas in Gengda, China
Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding: Panda Live
National Zoo: Giant Panda Cam
Nature Works Everywhere: Virtual Field Trip to China’s Great Forests
Join expert scientist Yue Wang, a conservation planning officer for The Nature Conservancy, on a virtual field trip across the world to two stunning provinces in China—Sichuan and Yunnan. Explore majestic forests, towering mountains, and other iconic landscapes. While examining the role these vital natural areas play in the carbon cycle and climate change, as well as the benefits of reforestation, we will learn about the magnificent creatures who call these habitats home: giant pandas, golden snub-nosed monkeys, and the elusive and odd-looking takin.
- Reforestation: Impact on Climate
- China Virtual Field Trip Standards
- China Virtual Field Trip Teacher’s Guide
World Wildlife Fund: What is the story behind the panda logo of WWF?
Aware of the need for a strong symbol that would overcome all language barriers, founders of the World Wildlife Fund chose the Giant Panda. “We wanted an animal that is beautiful, is endangered, and one loved by many people in the world for its appealing qualities.” The black-and-white panda has since come to stand as a symbol for the conservation movement as a whole.