Premiere Screening "Above the Drowning Sea" and Dialogue with Filmmakers, November 28, 2017

Premiere Screening:  "Above the Drowning Sea" (《上海餘生》) a documentary of Jewish refugees in Shanghai during WWII and meeting and discussion with the filmmakers René Balcer, an award-winning producer of "Law and Order" and Carolyn Hsu-Balcer, a designer, philanthropist and art collector.

Introducer and Moderator: Professor Ying Qian, Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, Columbia University.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

5:00 pm-7:30 pm.
203 Butler Library
AboveDrowningStill1 Keith Eisner sharing his father’s memoirs with residents of Hongkou
AboveStill3 Zhang Yongpei and his refugee friend Freddie in Shanghai, 1940
AboveDrowningStill2 SS Conte Biancamano



René Balcer is well known as the showrunner, head writer and executive producer of the iconic television series Law & Order, and as the co-creator and showrunner of its hit spin-off series Law & Order Criminal Intent. In addition, he created the international hit series “Jo” starring Jean Reno, and has written numerous movies-of-the-week.

He is currently in production on Law & Order True Crime - The Menendez Murders, an eight-part limited series for NBC starring Edie Falco, Josh Charles, Heather Graham, and Elisabeth Reaser. He is also in preproduction on The Council, a ten-episode mystery and political intrigue about climate change and aboriginal extinction set in the Canadian Arctic.

He has won an Emmy, the Peabody Award, a Writers Guild of America Award and four Edgar Awards for his television work.

René has also written and produced award-winning documentaries on art and China, and has just completed Above The Drowning Sea, a documentary about Jewish refugees in China. He was a front-line cameraman during the 1973 Yom Kippur War, a journalist in Montréal and an editor at the National Film Board of Canada.

His writing on social issues has been recognized with awards from Planned Parenthood, Alliance for Justice, the American Bar Association and other organizations.

René has lectured widely about writing, art and the duties of artists in free societies, notably at Harvard, Columbia, NYU, UPenn, the Sorbonne (Paris), the Central Academy of Fine Art (Beijing), and the Journalists Club (Moscow).



Carolyn Hsu-Balcer is a designer, philanthropist and art collector.

Carolyn has organized ground-breaking art exhibits including “Xu Bing Tobacco Project” (VMFA, Aldrich), “Light Before Dawn” (Asia Society Hong Kong), “Blooming in the Shadows” (China Institute NY), and “Oil and Water” (MOCA NY). She has produced the award-winning documentaries “The No Name Painting Association” (2013) and “Xu Bing Tobacco Project Virginia” (2011).

Carolyn is a trustee of the China Institute (New York), a board member of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Foundation (Richmond), and a member of the Asian Art and Overseers’ committees of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston. Carolyn dedicates much of her time to educational causes, and has organized major conferences on education in the US and China.

Carolyn and her husband have assembled important collections of Chinese Contemporary art, Japanese Shin-Hanga and Inuit art. Works from the collections have been shown in museums around the world, including the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, and the Taipei Fine Arts Museum.

Carolyn is founder and president of Snopea Inc., an infantwear company based in New York since 1997. She is a graduate of Wheaton College (Massachusetts), with a degree in Economics.


Chengzhi Wang, Ph.D.
Chinese Studies Librarian
307M Kent Hall
(212) 854-3721