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2020-21 Honors Cohort
Meghan Chou is an Ann Arbor-native double majoring in English (Creative Writing Sub-Con) and Film, Television, and Media. She has worked for Salamandar, Midwestern Gothic, The Michigan Daily, and The Michigan Review of Prisoner Creative Writing. She is also the recipient of several Hopwood awards, including the Roy W. Cowden Memorial Fellowship. While at U of M, she has served as co-showrunner for FTVM 421’s The Matriarch and pursued independent projects, including a queer dance film and a music video album with her quarantine-band Family Video Store. In her free time, Meghan enjoys running cross-country, painting clothes, and brainstorming her next tattoo.
Original TV Show - American Dreamin'
Primary Advisor, Oliver Thornton; Secondary Advisor, Markus Nornes
American Dreamin’ — an original TV show — follows the lives of Lucille and Grace, a mother and daughter dealing with an early-onset Alzheimer’s diagnosis. Through the themes of family, memory, and trauma, this show will explore the existential question: what do we owe our parents? Meghan will use her perspective as the daughter of Asian immigrants, as well as her personal experiences, to lend an authentic voice to this passion project. Her thesis will culminate in a completed pilot script, a show bible, and a final reading.
Yifei Yao is a Chinese international student who has a broad interest in things that challenge her ways of seeing. Besides film, she studies biopsychology and always wants to learn more about perception, cognition, and memory. In her spare time, she participates in online film festivals and a virtual book club. She especially enjoys poems and Republican-era Chinese literature, because she likes analyzing how poets use poetry as an analytical tool to find answers in life, and she resonates with Chinese intellectuals’ concerns in uncertain times.
Last summer when volunteering at the FIRST film festival in Xining, China, Yifei gained insight into the cooperation between the film festival and the state and the connection between the independent filmmakers and the market. As a Michigan library scholar for this past summer, Yifei contributed to Askwith Media Library Asian film collections by curating online exhibits that feature the work of two eminent directors and Asian stardom.
Primary Advisor, Markus Nornes; Secondary Advisor, Emily Wilcox
Yifei's project looks at the Chinese independent documentary communities and diasporic filmmaking. Through anchoring on an underground film magazine edited by the leading documentary filmmakers in China, this project examines the artist group’s transformation in the last decade and how they “dance with shackles on.”