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KUNG FURY – Martial Arts Cinema Symposium, Birmingham City University – 1st April 2016

Kung Fury poster

Kung Fury: Contemporary Debates in Martial Arts Cinema

In the media-congested world of YouTube, Vimeo, Netflix and other digital platforms, it is perhaps surprising that Kung Fury, a 30-minute martial arts action comedy short which pays tribute to the culture of the 1980s, could have raised $630,000 via Kickstarter, premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, and attracted more than 13 millions views of its trailer.

This one day symposium in the School of Media and Birmingham City University takes the success of Kung Fury as a provocation to discuss a range of themes emerging around contemporary martial arts cinema in the digital age. Given the multiplicity of approaches to Martial Arts Studies recently set out in Paul Bowman’s field defining book Martial Arts Studies: Disrupting Disciplinary Boundaries (Rowman & Littlefield, 2015),  this is a multi-disciplinary event that includes scholars and practitioners working in all manner of theoretical, industrial, educational and methodological modes.

Confirmed Speakers

  • Bey Logan, author of Hong Kong Action Cinema, founder and editor of Impact magazine, international representative of the Wong Fei Hung Museum in Foshan, Guangdong, and producer on such films as The Twins Effect, Dragon Squad, Blood Bond, Beach Spike, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon 2: Green Destiny and Lady Bloodfight
  • susan pui san lok, Associate Professor, Middlesex University, Co-Investigator, AHRC BAM Project (Black Artists & Modernism) UAL/MDX
  • Paul Smith, PR professional, publicist at Tartan Films, Asia Extreme
  • Felicia Chan, Manchester University
  • Hyunseon Lee, SOAS, University of London
  • Kyle Barrowman, Cardiff University
  • Colette Balmain, Kingston University
  • Tim Trausch, research associate at the Department of East Asian Studies, University of Cologne
  • Spencer Murphy, Director of the East Winds Film Festival, the only major film festival of East Asian Cinema outside of London, and the first of its kind in the Midlands
  • Jonathan Wroot, University of Worcester
  • Oliver Carter, Birmingham City University
  • Simon Barber, Birmingham City University
  • Paul Bowman, Cardiff University, author of Theorizing Bruce Lee (2010), Beyond Bruce Lee (2013) and Martial Arts Studies(2015).


  • Martial arts cinema and digital culture
  • Funding and distribution
  • Film festivals, marketing and promotion
  • Martial arts cinema heritage, nostalgia and memory
  • Mashups and genre busting intertextuality
  • The place of period cinema
  • Martial arts stardom and transnationality
  • Martial arts audiences and fandom

Date Friday 1st April 2016

Location: School of Media, Birmingham City University, Parkside/Millennium Point, 5 Cardigan Street, Birmingham, B4 7BD

Organizers: Oliver Carter (, Simon Barber (

Funded by: The AHRC-funded Martial Arts Studies Research Network (

Friday, April 1, 2016 from 10:00 AM to 9:00 PM (BST) 
School of Media, Birmingham City University – Parkside/Millennium Point 5 Cardigan Street, Birmingham B4 7BD, United Kingdom