In an earlier article, we related the story behind the founding of the Great Wall Motion Picture Manufacturing Company: how a group of Overseas Chinese, deeply offended by the caricatured and stereotyped portrayals of Chinese people and Chinese culture by Hollywood, pooled their talents and raised the funding to make their own movies presenting a true picture of their people and culture.
One of the young Chinese involved in this movement was Li Zeyuan 李泽源. Li was a native of Taishan, Guangdong. After finishing secondary school, he went to the U.S. to study mechanical engineering, first in San Francisco and later in New York. It was while in New York that Li saw one of the movies he and his fellow Chinese found so offensive. When the group determined to make their own films, Li went to work for an optical company where he could learn both optics and lighting, as well as e. So when the group was ready to make the two documentary shorts they produced in New York, Li was ready to serve as both director and cinematographer.
When the Great Wall company's founders moved back to China in 1924 to continue filmmaking there, Li Zeyuan went back as well. He directed or co-directed 10 of the 28 features Great Wall made from 1924-1930, when the studio ceased operations. While his screen credits were relatively few during this period, it is known that he was employed by Great Wall in an administrative or technical capaity, and in 1927, during the Northern Expedition, Li and cinematographer Cheng Peilin took portable camera equipment to the front to film news films which were edited into a documentary titled《Record of Victory in the National Revolution》. Li's future activities after Great Wall shut down are unrecorded, but he had no other movie credits after 1930.
Chinese Costume (director, cinematographer)
China's National Art (director, cinematographer)
The Divorcee (director)
(aka Discarded Wife)
Unlucky Couple (director)
Closing a Rift (director)
A String of Pearls (director)
Nezha is Born (director)
The True and False Monkey King (director)
Tiger From Fengyang (co-director)
Uproar on the Movie Set (director)