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‘Awakening’ Advances as Chinese Remake of Singapore’s ‘Little Nyonya’ Begins

The budget for the China remake of the hit 1984 Singaporean television drama “The Awakening,” could exceed $40 million, according to production executives at GHY Culture and Media.

GHY, a China-backed Singaporean production outfit, recently signed a licensing deal with national broadcaster Mediacorp for the remake rights to selected library titles. “The Awakening,” a 60 episode period epic following the first generations of Chinese immigrants in Singapore, is planned for a mid-2019 production start.

The remarks were made on the sidelines of the launch of principle photography on GHY’s first production under the licensing deal, “The Little Nyonya,” held at Pinewood Studios Iskandar on Thursday. The $20.5 million, 40 episode series “Nyonya” is a co-production with China streaming giant iQIYI, and Changxin Pictures.

Like “The Awakening,” “Nyonya” is a period drama following the lives of mixed-race Chinese immigrants in South East Asia. The original series was produced by Mediacorp in 2008. Both series represent a concerted effort by GHY Culture and Media to mine stories about the overseas Chinese diaspora for Mainland Chinese audiences.

Both productions are led by executive producer Guo Jingyu, who recently made headlines when he wrote a lengthy post on Chinese social media platform Weibo detailing pay-for-ratings corruption in the Chinese broadcast TV market. Guo accused unnamed “big shots” of keeping his drama series “Mother’s Life” off the air unless he paid $130,000 (RMB900,000) per episode in return for forged high ratings.

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