Former laser scientist Peter Wang directed the first movie co- produced by Chinese and American filmmakers, A Great Wall. This comedy of a Chinese-American family's visit to relatives in Beijing was also Wang's first outing as a director, though he had previously appeared in such ethnic-background films asChan Is Missing and Ah Ying. Wang grew up in Taiwan, where his family had fled from Beijing after the revolution, but received his college and post-graduate education in the United States. In 1973 he left a comfortable job with IBMto move to San Francisco, where he joined the Asian Living Theatre. When hemade A Great Wall, according to the June 3, 1986, Village Voice, he felt it "sees the Chinese in China." The director wanted the film to be accessible toaudiences unfamiliar with the country, but also hoped to convey "the modernization of a beautiful old civilization." Living in New York City's Soho district by 1986, Wang planned for his next film to draw on his experience as a scientist.