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Documentary examines a Western town: Jackson Hole, China




JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) – Halfway around the world from this Western ski town there’s a place called Jackson Hole, China.

And no, the name isn’t a coincidence. Located a few hours north of Beijing, Jackson Hole, China, is a small town that bears an uncanny resemblance to Jackson, Wyoming, and the surrounding valley.

How did China’s Jackson Hole come to be? Why was it built to imitate Jackson Hole, USA? How do the citizens of the replica town live day to day?

Those questions were what inspired filmmaker Adam James Smith to make his new feature-length documentary “Americaville,” along with co-producers Qi Zhang, Wang Qihan, Wei Guang, Song Ke and Tang Yi.

The documentary’s story took shape around the collision and contrast of American and Chinese culture, and Smith began to examine what it meant for a community to copy an inferred lifestyle of another country. It primarily follows the life of a woman named Annie Liu, who came to Jackson Hole, China, because of her love for American culture and her hope of fulfilling the ever-elusive American dream.

“Watching the film may help locals answer the question ‘Why is Jackson Hole so popular in the Chinese imagination?’” Smith said. “I hope it might change how people think about their hometown. I’m hoping it will be like holding up a mirror—seeing your place through someone else’s eyes.”

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