Shanghai Theatre Academy: Forever Shakespeare

Over the summer Montclair State University and the Shanghai Theatre Academy teamed up to produce a short film titled, “Forever Shakespeare.” Daniel Gurskis, Dean for the MSU College of the Arts helped organize and bring the project to life with the help of his oversea colleagues in China. MSU Film & TV production students collaborated with the Shanghai Film students on the cross cultural story of “Neil” and “Lin.”

Director: Ji Peng Fei
Director of Photography: Fan Weiqiang
First Assistant Camera: Song Yuexin
Producer: Michael DiGioia
Producer: Sun Chenxi
Faculty Advisors: Patricia Piroh, Tony Pemberton, Susan Skoog, Yi Luo, Yao Kougen, Zhang Xiaoou

The film captures the journey that both characters went on to find the Forever Shakespeare Theater. “Lin” has traveled all the way from China to Montclair to locate the theater that she so desperately must find. She requests the help of “Neil;” a down-on-his-luck store clerk who is to seemingly selfish to care. Will he help her find the Forever Shakespeare Theater? Click and find out!

The Making of Forever Shakespeare

The Shanghai Film Academy students arrived in the United States excited and eager to get started on a journey that would require collaboration, imagination and hard work. Not long after their arrival casting began and a choice had to be made after numerous auditions. It was decided that Aiden Kinney and Chien-Lun Lee would play the lead roles of “Neil” and “Lin.”

The MSU Film & TV production students collaborated with China’s prestigious Shanghai Film Academy students all along the way. The original story was crafted by MSU students Alex Winchell, Michael DiGioia and Bryan Scuteri. However, due to cultural differences the Chinese students didn’t quite get the story, or its sense of humor. This led to further re-writes, including the contributions of Zhong Wen, SFA’s screenwriter. In the end both sides settled on a story they were proud to see to completion.

With a large crew that covered all the filmmaking bases, everyone was ready to shoot. The three day shooting schedule covered several locations in Montclair. “Watchung Booksellers” served as the film’s first location and only interior setting. Other locations included the university’s Red Hawk Diner, Lot 46 as well as the NJ transit parking lot close to campus. All the while the crew maintained an energy that carried through until the end of production and post-production.

Montclair State | New Jersey

Steve Melone

Steve is a television and digital media major, with a minor in film at Montclair State University. You can listen to his weekly radio show, "The Melone Zone" on 90.3 FM or