“Palette of Progress: Feicheng Through My Grandfather’s Eyes” is not just a journey into Mike Xu’s personal heritage but also a deep dive into the sociocultural evolution of Feicheng in Shandong province in China. Through the lens of his grandfather’s art, the documentary showcases the dynamic intersection of art and society. Every brushstroke, color choice, and theme in the artwork reveals the values, norms, and shifts in a community deeply rooted in tradition, yet evolving amidst China’s rapid change.

As Mike navigates the streets of Feicheng, he discovers how an artist’s upbringing, and the nuanced interplay of their natural and cultural environment, mold their artistic expression. He learns that art is a reflection of the world around it. The town, with its storied history and vibrant community, is a canvas, absorbing the shifts of a transforming China while imprinting its identity on its villagers.

Join Mike in “Palette of Progress: Feicheng Through My Grandfather’s Eyes” as he unravels the profound connections between an artist’s upbringing and their craft, and witnesses firsthand the artistic ripples a town can generate and the transformative social change occurring in rural China.


  • Mike Z Xu: Director
  • Mike Z Xu: Writer
  • Mike Z Xu: Producer
  • Mike Z Xu: Key Cast
  • Vihao Zhao: Key Cast,”Freelancer”


  • Project Type: Documentary
  • Runtime: 6 minutes 9 seconds
  • Completion Date: August 9, 2023
  • Production Budget: 3,000 USD
  • Country of Origin: United States
  • Country of Filming: China
  • Language: English
  • Shooting Format: xavc
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9
  • Film Color: Color
  • First-time Filmmaker
  • Student Project: The Hotchkiss School