China’s Shinework Media and Iran’s Farabi Cinema Foundation have agreed to co-produce “Way to Shaolin.” The martial arts picture would be the first co-production between the two countries in Iranian history, according to Chinese media sources.
A deal to make the film was signed at a ceremony during the Fajr International Film Festival earlier this week.
The film’s story is that of an Iranian kung fu fan who struggled against adversity to become a martial arts master. He then embarked on a journey to the Shaolin Temple, the cradle of kung fu in central China’s Henan province and which has featured in countless films and TV series.
Production will take place in both Iran and China with actors and crew from both countries, according to Shen Jian, producer and chairman of Shinework. Iran and China do not have a bilateral co-production treaty, but the film could still be considered Chinese if it incorporates enough onscreen elements from China and the Chinese producers have a significant proportion of the film’s equity.
“This is a legitimate, genuine and concrete cooperation, with joint efforts in directing and writing, about a very interesting story,” said Hojjatollah Ayyoubi, head of Iran’s Cinema Organization, quoted by China’s Xinhua news agency.
“The film is to help promote cultural exchange between the two countries while tapping into Chinese and Iranian markets, perhaps even the world market,” said Amir Esfandiari, director of international affairs at Farabi.