×

Propaganda Films to Dominate Chinese Theaters in Anniversary Year

A presentation at the Shanghai International Film Festival on Sunday shed light on the welter of propaganda films that will compete with Hollywood blockbusters for the attention of Chinese cinema goers in the second half of this year.

This year is laden with political significance for China’s ruling Communist Party. It is 100 years since the May Fourth movement in which students led protests against foreign colonial powers in China. In October China will celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.

“The Climbers” starring “Wolf “Warriors” and Chinese patriotic film icon Wu Jing, is a production by Shanghai Film Group that releases at the end of this month. “The mountain climbers represent the Chinese people’s spirit of conquering challenges,” said SFG chairman Ren Zhonglun.

Edward Cheng, VP at Tencent & CEO of Tencent Pictures, said that social media giant Tencent is backing the Dante Lam-directed “The Rescue” which will release in January 2020. The $80 million-budget film has finance from the Ministry of Transport.

Tencent is also backing a patriotic anthology of short stories directed by a group of all-star directors including Chen Kaige, Ning Hao, Zhang Yibai, Xue Xiaolu, Xu Zheng, Wen Muye. The film, which is aimed at a release during the National Day holidays, is called “Wo He Wo De Zu Guo” and currently has no English-language title.

“China Film will stick to its tradition of producing dedication films,” said Jiang Ping, GM of state-backed China Film Group, and will release two special movies. One, “Bai Wan Xiong Shi“ takes its Chinese title from a Mao Zedong poem. The other one “Tai Yang Sheng Qi De Shi Ke” has creative involvement from Bayi Film Studio. Neither have English titles.

Enlight Media is readying Zhang Yimou’s “Jian Ru Pan Shi” (no English title), which will cover topics from anti-corruption to anti-crime. “It’s Zhang Yimou’s first film on contemporary urban topics,” said Enlight chairman Wang Changtian.

Yu Dong, CEO of Bona Film Group, shed light on his compaby’s commitment to three upcoming films, each based on real events: “The Bravest,” ”The Chinese Pilot,” and “The Rescue.” Bona is also working with the Beijing City government on “Jue Sheng Shi Ke” (previously called “China 1949”), a story that takes place on the day that P.R.C. was founded.

Wanda Film has co-produced two films, “Wo He Wo De Zu Guo” and “Liberation”, a film directed by Li Shaohong and produced by Han Sanping. Zeng Maojun, president of Wanda Film pointed out, “most films this year are produced by multiple companies. Companies and filmmakers are working together to dedicate these films to the 70th anniversary.”

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Bruce Springsteen arrives for the New

    Bruce Springsteen Returns to NJ Hometown for Surprise 'Western Stars' Introduction

    Bruce Springsteen returned to his hometown of Freehold, New Jersey to offer a surprise introduction to the first public multiplex viewing of his concert/documentary film, “Western Stars.” Dressed simply in a brown jacket, Springsteen took a moment to say a few words at the AMC Freehold 14 movie theater on Saturday night. “We knew we [...]

  • Backstage in Puglia del film SPACCAPIETRE:

    'Gomorrah' Star Salvatore Esposito Set For De Serio Twins' 'The Stonebreaker'

    Salvatore Esposito, the Italian star who plays young mob boss Genny Savastano in Italy’s hit TV series “Gomorrah,” will soon be hitting the big screen toplining upcoming drama “The Stonebreaker” by twin directorial duo Gianluca and Massimiliano De Serio, who are known internationally for “Seven Acts of Mercy.” The De Serio twins are now in post on “Stonebreaker” [...]

  • Angelina Jolie is Maleficent in Disney’s

    Box Office: 'Maleficent: Mistress of Evil' Tops 'Joker,' 'Zombieland'

    “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” is on track to give Disney another first place finish after scoring $12.5 million in Friday’s domestic ticket sales. If estimates hold, the Angelina Jolie-led film should finish the weekend with about $38 million — well below earlier forecasts but enough to top holdover “Joker” and fellow newcomer “Zombieland: Double Tap.” [...]

  • Maelle Arnaud

    Lumière Chief Programmer Maelle Arnaud: 'Film History Doesn't Have Parity'

    LYON, France   — As the Lumière Institute’s head programmer since 2001, Maelle Arnaud helped launched the Lumière Festival in 2009 and has watched it grow in international esteem over the decade that followed. This year, the festival ran 190 films across 424 screenings in theaters all over town. The festival will come to a [...]

  • Girl with Green Eyes

    Talking Pictures TV: Bringing the Past Back to Life in the U.K.

    LYON, France – Since its launch in 2015, Talking Pictures TV has become the fastest-growing independent channel in the U.K. with a growing library of British film and TV titles that span five decades, according to founder Noel Cronin. Noel Cronin attended the Lumière Festival’s International Classic Film Market (MIFC) in Lyon, France, where he [...]

  • Wings of Desire

    German Heritage Sector Applauds Increased Digitization, Preservation Funding

    LYON, France  — Germany’s film heritage sector is celebrating a new federal and state-funded initiative launching in January that will provide €10 million ($11.15 million) a year towards the digitization and preservation of feature films. Rainer Rother, the artistic director of the Deutsche Kinemathek, outlined the plan at a panel discussion at the Lumière Festival’s [...]

  • 'QT8: Quentin Tarantino, The First Eight'

    Film Review: 'QT8: Quentin Tarantino, The First Eight'

    In one of the intermittent revealing moments in “QT8: Quentin Tarantino, The First Eight,” a documentary about the films of Quentin Tarantino that’s like a familiar but tasty sundae for Quentin fans, we see Tarantino on the set of “Pulp Fiction,” shooting the iconic dance contest at Jack Rabbit Slim’s. As John Travolta and Uma [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content