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Action Thriller ‘Strike Back’ on Course at China Film, Arclight (EXCLUSIVE)

China Film Group and Taihang Pictures have teamed up to produce “Strike Back,” a patriotic action-thriller film. Arclight Films is attached as co-financier and worldwide sales agent.

The fact-based story focuses on two Chinese soldiers who decide to avenge the killing of their colleague by a terrorist. One, a young reservist, feels the need to prove that he has what it takes to join the special operations forces known as Skyhawks.

The film is expected to shoot from September this year and feature an ensemble Chinese and U.S. cast. No director or cast has yet been announced. Shooting is set for the deserts of Xinjiang, in northwest China, and the lush tropical locales of Hainan island in the south.

China Film Co., part of state-owned giant China Film Group, is financing the project. Producers are China Film’s Xu Jian Hai; Taihang’s Wang Cheng Zhe, who is also writing the project with fellow producer Li Qian; and Johnny Liu. From Arclight, the producers are Gary Hamilton and Ying Ye.

A succession of films with patriotic themes has proved hugely successful at the Chinese box office in recent months. They include “Operation Red Sea,” “Wolf Warrior II” and the recent sci-fi crossover title “The Wandering Earth.”

Xinjiang province is a sensitive subject for China’s Communist rulers. The Beijing regime has long been accused of forcing the assimilation of Xinjiang’s Muslim-majority population and of treating Muslims as separatists or terrorists. In the last year, the government has also been accused of interning hundreds of thousands of Uighur Muslims in detention camps.

China Film Group runs theaters, and finances, produces and distributes films. Arclight is a Los Angeles- and Sydney-based sales and production firm. It has previously handled Chinese films including “Guardians of the Tomb,” “Wolf Warrior” and “Zhongkui: Snow Girl and the Dark Crystal.”

The deal was concluded by the two firms Saturday on the margins of the Cannes Film Festival.

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