The Asia Foundation's motion-picture project and the cultural Cold War in Asia

Sangjoon LEE*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Drawing on archival materials from the Asia Foundation records at the Hoover Institution Archives and the Robert Blum Papers at Yale University Library, this article focuses on the origins and development of the Federation of Motion Picture Producers in Asia (FPA) by unveiling the existence of the Asia Foundation (TAF) and its forgotten motion-picture projects in Asia. Under the leadership of its first president, Robert Blum (1953-1962), the Asia Foundation, a private nonprofit organization, was actively involved in the motion-picture industries in Cold War Asia. The Asia Foundation covertly supported anticommunist motion-picture industry personnel, ranging from producers, directors, and technicians to critics and writers in Japan, Hong Kong, Burma, and South Korea, as well as American and British motion-picture producers in Malaysia and Thailand through clandestine activities. This study aims to investigate how and to what extent TAF and its field agents furtively acted to construct an anticommunist motion-picture producers' alliance in Asia, responded to local film executives' various needs, and negotiated with the constantly changing political, social, and cultural environments in the region during the project's active periods.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)108-137
Number of pages30
JournalFilm History: An International Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Asia foundation
  • Asian film festival
  • Cultural cold war
  • Federation of motion picture producers in southeast Asia
  • Hong Kong cinema
  • Japanese cinema


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