HOUSTON, April 28 (Xinhua) -- Both the "American Dream" and "Chinese Dream" share the same goal of pursuing better and more secure lives, making the United States and China more in common in their bilateral relationship, a U.S. film producer told Xinhua in an exclusive interview.
"Chinese have very powerful family values. What an average Chinese wants and what an average American wants at that level is absolutely similar," William Mundell, producer of "Better Angels", a feature documentary showcasing China-U.S. ties, told Xinhua in Houston, U.S. state of Texas.
According to historian James Trusslow Adams, the American Dream ethos can be traced back to the frontier times. As the U.S. frontiers first came to the continent to conquer the wilderness, they became symbolic of the can-do spirit by building farms, forming tribes, and establishing laws.
The Chinese have great similarities with the frontiers that built the United States, said Mundell. "China is in so many ways becoming what we imagine ourselves to be."
According to Mundell, part of what the film "Better Angels" is trying to convey is that there are parts of the America which are extremely open to Chinese investments. "Chinese investors are going to places in the U.S. that have been forgotten for years. they are greater risk-takers than Americans are right now."
"It is critical for the Chinese to understand the welcoming and open America still exists today; and for the American to see Chinese are very much alike with the frontiers that built our country," Mundell told Xinhua.
Mundell was an adjunct professor at UCLA's Anderson Graduate School of Management, and is an honorary professor at Tsinghua University in China.
In 2005, Mundell formed Californians For Fair Redistricting to advance fair redistricting reform. In 2010, he was the executive producer of Gerrymandering, a national documentary which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, and focuses on the use of gerrymandering to fix elections and protect incumbents. It was widely credited with creating sweeping political reform in California.
In 2013, he embarked on a feature documentary movie titled "Better Angels" about the U.S.-China relationship. "My aim is to close gaps in China-U.S. relations," he said.
Mundell is motivated to strengthen the trust among ordinary people in this cross-cultural relationship. "I would like the Chinese people to try harder in the U.S. We are better together than we are apart."
"We shot 850 hours over the five-year period," Mundell told Xinhua. In the long period of filming at different parts of China, he has witnessed the great changes brought by the Chinese Dream.
For an average working-class and middle-class American, the soul of the American Dream is to achieve personal success, family prosperity, and upward social mobility through hard work.
In the film, a former U.S. marine from Texas had his American Dream realized by coming to China. Not only did he find a higher-pay job as an English teacher and football coach in Shanghai, but also married a Chinese woman and put down roots in China.
According to Mundell, China is embracing the American Dream. Both Americans and Chinese aims to gain prosperity and provide better futures for the next generation, but they need to speak up and tell their personal stories.
"People go to China to get a glimpse of the future now when it comes to infrastructure and technology," he said, adding that culture play an important role as well, and "Chinese people are making their own movies and even setting up their own Hollywood system."
Mundell believes the two countries are facing an information asymmetry in their relationship. "Let me just state the obvious. The American people know a lot less about China than the Chinese people know about America. There is a tendency to fear what you don't know," he stated.
Mundell encouraged citizens of both nations to break stereotypes and dispel misconceptions about each other, because U.S.-China relationship is "the most important bilateral relationship in the world."
"Better Angels" is a 92-minute theatrical documentary directed by award-winning director Malcolm Clarke and produced by Mundell and award-winning Chinese producer Han Yi.
The title "Better Angels" pays homage to Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States. In his inaugural address on March 4, 1861, Lincoln pleaded with people both in the North and the South to become friends rather than enemies, by letting the "better angels of our nature" create harmony of the American Union.
Mundell said "Better Angels" will be released in North America after releasing on 9,200 screens in China following the Beijing International Film Festival week on April 13-20.
"In the U.S., we plan a grassroots campaign at the universities followed by a release in the 60 largest U.S. markets," he said.