Mansfield Center to Host Documentary Screening on China’s Ghost Cities

February 26, 2015

MISSOULA – The Maureen and Mike Mansfield Center at the University of Montana, in conjunction with UM’s East Asian Studies, will host a showing of the documentary “The Land of Many Palaces” at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 10, at Missoula’s Roxy Theater. 

The 60-minute documentary on China’s current efforts to move 250 million rural villagers into urban cities will be followed by a Q-and-A session with the film’s co-director and co-producer, Adam James Smith. It is free and open to the public. 

China is in the middle of an epic social engineering undertaking that seeks to move 250 million people from rural villages into newly built cities in an effort to promote modernization and combat the intense poverty in China’s poorest rural villages. While these new cities offer access to critical services like modern schools and hospitals, many of the villagers being moved fear a lack of jobs in these new cities and losing the income from their farms to support them as they age. 

“The Land of Many Palaces” follows the stories of a government official tasked with convincing farmers that their lives will be better in the new cities and a farmer who is being pressured to move. 

Adam James Smith, co-director and co-producer of the film, is a Stanford-educated documentary filmmaker from England whose films focus on characters experiencing rapid change in their lives. He has produced, directed and edited four short documentaries in America and also worked for TED, Rabbit Bandini Productions, Stanford University’s Office of Public Affairs, the China Central Academy of Fine Arts and the Chinese National Academy of Painting. He worked on “The Land of Many Palaces” in conjunction with co-producer and co-director Song Ting, a graduate of the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University who has worked on films across Asia and in the U.S. He also worked with co-producer Qihan Wang, who has produced documentary projects for China Central Television, BBC, Channel 4, National Geographic and CBC Television. 

The Mansfield Center at UM promotes better understanding of Asia, U.S. relations with Asia and ethics in public affairs in the spirit of Sen. Mike Mansfield (1903-2001) and his wife and life-partner, Maureen Hayes Mansfield. The center houses programs that focus on the people and cultures of modern Asia and ethics in public affairs – the core interests and hallmarks of Sen. Mansfield’s career.

More information is available at

Contact: Caitlin Sager, UM Mansfield Center administrative assistant, 406-243-2965,