Television

Warner Bros pacts with China, Hong Kong for telefilms

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CHINA: Warner Bros. International Television has entered into an agreement with two companies from China and a Hong Kong-based partner, Salon Films, for the joint development, production and distribution of a slate of 10 Mandarin language made-for-television movies.

The telefilms will each be a stand-alone story set in the Ching Dynasty (1644 -1911), but the 10 will have thematic continuity. Set against the rugged northwestern landscape of China's Yellow River basin, the stories will profile fictional heroes who use their unique fighting skills to right wrongs, while highlighting the central themes of loyalty, self-sacrifice and the heroes' struggles against the era's corrupt landlords and petty officials. Each episode will be designed to highlight one of the traditional Confucian virtues, such as compassion, loyalty and courage.

Shot in digital video on location in China, each instalment will be 90 minutes long and the 10 films will be formatted with the flexibility of being broadcast as a series of 20 45-minute episodes. Although primarily intended for television and home video distribution, it is likely that some of the episodes will be released in theatres in China. Century Heroes and Hainan White Horse Advertising Media Co. Ltd are the two Chinese partners of Warner Bros in the venture. The PRC partners will be responsible for domestic distribution of the slate while Warner Bros. will distribute the films in all media outside of China.

The project, which begins production in Ningxia Province later this month, has attracted some of China's most creative talents. Feng Xiaogang, China's most commercially successful film director (Party A, Party B, Be There or Be Square), will act as creative supervisor and executive producer, managing the overall creative concept and script development, and supervising a team of directors including Huang Jianxin The Black Cannon Incident and Zhang Jianya Crash Landing.

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