Martial arts superstar Donnie Yen is set as executive producer of cinema-verite style documentary “Wuhan! Wuhan!” which chronicles a day-and-a-half in the life of the Chinese city where the earliest proven cases of COVID-19 were found.
The film is produced by Donna Gigliotti (“Hidden Figures,” “Silver Linings Playbook”) alongside Peter Luo of financier Starlight Media, and Huan Li (“Road of Millennium Bodhi,” “Changing China”).
It is co-directed by renowned Chinese documentary director Gong Cheng (“A Bite of China,” “Voice of the Earth”) and award-winning documentary director Yung Chang (“Up the Yangtze,” “China Heavyweight”). They deployed a team of 30 to film along volunteers, medical workers and patients.
Characters who emerge through the web of factual narrative include: a volunteer driver who gives free rides to medical workers; a barber who volunteers to serve medical workers for free; a video blogger who delivers medicine to patients; a psychotherapist who provides counselling to coronavirus patients; a medical waste disposal supervisor; and doctors who dash between emergency rooms.
Producers say the film is intended to “capture the most inspiring moments during the COVID-19 pandemic” and record “stories of common people.” “The film will show how people fight, how they live and how they love when disaster strikes,” said Luo.
“Wuhan! Wuhan!” is produced by UNI-FILM, SA Inc., Starlight Media, and Changsheng Film and Television. Listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, Starlight and Luo have backed films including “Crazy Rich Asians” and “Midway.” It has a slate of projects by talent including Robert Zemeckis, Sam Raimi, Sylvester Stallone, James Wan and F. Gary Gray.
The Chinese and U.S. governments have waged a war of words for several months about the origin of the COVID-19 coronavirus, with lurid accusations including the idea that it was a U.S.-made bioweapon, or a leak from a Chinese research laboratory. There is, however, no doubt that transport and manufacturing hub, Wuhan, with its population of 11 million, was the first major city to be locked down due to the virus outbreak.