Excitement and Inspiration in Philadelphia Ahead of DreamWorks Animation’s ‘Kung Fu Panda 4’

Mar 14, 2024 9:30 AM ET

A palpable buzz of anticipation and excitement swept Philadelphia’s Crane Chinatown Community Center — as row by row of students ranging from preschoolers through teenagers filed into the sprawling gymnasium. Pencil and notebook in hand, the students took their seats at the periwinkle-topped tables, their excitement on display through smiles and laughter.

The students were there for a special opportunity: to take part in an animation masterclass, hosted by Xfinity and taught by DreamWorks Animation co-director Stephanie Ma Stine. Highlights from Stephanie’s resume include working as a storyboard artist for DreamWorks’ How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World and The Adventures of Puss in Boots — and most recently, co-director of the forthcoming DreamWorks film, Kung Fu Panda 4.

As Stephanie took the stage, the kids were ready to follow along — and over the next half-hour, a sea of sketches of Po, the beloved Kung Fu Master in Kung Fu Panda, came to life in notebooks throughout the room.

For Dustin, an 11th grade student, representation served as inspiration: “Seeing Asian-directed movies makes me feel heard and understood. … Asian American directors bring their own unique experiences to the table and create movies that culturally resonate with me.”

Today was really about expanding horizons. To have a superstar like Stephanie Ma Stine come to Chinatown from Hollywood gives our children an idea that they can be anything.


Executive Director of the Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation (PCDC)

“What a wonderful role model for the children,” added Carol Wong, Executive Director and Owner of the Chinatown Learning Center, which calls the Crane Community Center home. “Stephanie’s story is so inspirational — our kids can do it, too, if they try. Nothing should stop them.”

The Crane Community Center is a Comcast Lift Zone, and is the heartbeat for many in Philadelphia’s Chinatown community — providing youth programming, food distribution, health and wellness initiatives, and help navigating housing — within walking distance of Comcast’s headquarters campus.

“Every time we come here, it reminds us … what can happen if we join forces together and work together and create a safe community space for all,” reflected Nina Ahmad, Philadelphia City Councilmember At-Large.

First District Councilmember Mark Squilla added, “We were just here celebrating the Lunar New Year last week, and we had over 500 people here. This community center means so much not only to Chinatown, but also to the city of Philadelphia.”

Access to information and resources provided by the Crane and the PCDC are vital — and increasingly, the community is relying on the Internet to stay connected. As the future of the government’s Affordable Connectivity Program is being decided, Kohposh Kuda, SVP of Xfinity Mobile assured families, “Xfinity is committed to supporting all communities.” Recognizing this need, Comcast’s Xfinity team, with the help of a larger-than-life Po costume character, had a final surprise for each of the students — a laptop of their own.

For John Chin, the laptop giveaway is critical as students navigate their educational journeys: “Today’s world is about connecting, using technology, and some of these students come from families that are low income. … It’s necessary in today’s world if they’re going to succeed.”

Stephanie’s visit to Chinatown was the crescendo of a day-long, Symphony effort across Comcast NBCUniversal, Xfinity, and DreamWorks celebrating Kung Fu Panda, including speaking to employees and Philadelphia community leaders at special screenings of the film and visiting the Comcast Center Campus.

For Stephanie, the visit was an exhilarating moment — especially as The Universal Sphere in the Comcast Technology Center featured a special Kung Fu Panda experience. Through March 8, DreamWorks Po’s Awesome Lunar New Year Adventure at The Universal Sphere is a free, special cinematic experience that invites guests to embark on a magical journey to Panda Village and even virtually launch their own sky lanterns, just as Stephanie did.

“I am really hopeful that my visit and my presence here today can open up a lot of eyes as to, wow, we really can do anything,” Stephanie reflected on her visit to the Crane Community Center. “We can choose any path. We can choose an artistic career, we can be creative, we can tell meaningful stories.”

Stephanie brought the magic of DreamWorks’ Kung Fu Panda 4 to the young — and young at heart — in Comcast’s hometown. And that same magic can be experienced by all, as the film hits theaters nationwide on Friday, March 8.