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Winter 2009 Table of Contents

Master of Ceremonies

Filmmaker Zhang Yimou, director of Olympics spectacle, to receive honorary degree

| From Commonwealth | Story by Cara Feinberg

Zhang Yimou will receive an honorary degree at BU’s 2009 Commencement. Photo courtesy of Wen Min

Acclaimed Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yimou, who directed the opening and closing ceremonies at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters at Boston University’s 136th Commencement ceremony this May.

The honor was announced in November at the annual conference of the International Association of Film and Television Schools (CILECT), which was held in Beijing and drew participants from around the world, including Tom Fiedler (COM’71), dean of the College of Communication. Fiedler presented the formal invitation to Zhang at an event organized by BU Trustee Hugo Shong (COM’87, GRS’92), president of the Boston University Alumni Association of China. While BU’s honorary degree recipients typically are not revealed until the annual Senior Breakfast in May, President Robert A. Brown says that the University’s active Chinese alumni base, as well as Fiedler’s involvement in the CILECT conference, made the timing right for the announcement.

Zhang, whose works include Raise the Red Lantern and The House of Flying Daggers, has earned two Academy Award nominations and a litany of film festival honors. Known for his striking cinematography and epic portrayals of historic and modern-day China, Zhang garnered international acclaim for his early films everywhere but in China, where they were initially banned by government censors.

Last August, he directed 15,000 actors, musicians, and acrobats in the opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympics before a stadium crowd of 91,000 and television viewers numbering about a billion. As Brown wrote in his invitation to Zhang, they “left the world in awe with their unparalleled beauty and magnificence.”

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