FEB 27 2015

10 Amazing Chinese Locations You’ve Never Heard of

10 Amazing Chinese Locations You’ve Never Heard of

It’s been a fantastic year of the horse for Mandarin Film, and we thought instead of giving you the usual red envelope stuffed with cash, we’d send you something much more useful - unique access to ten of the best new filming locations we found this year…

10. Source of the Mekong – High up on the Tibetan plateau, snowdrifts and the frozen tundra make this place nigh on impenetrable – which is part of the reason it’s so attractive.  For a BBC show “The Mekong River with Sue Perkins” Mandarin Film took an eight man crew all the way to the source – one of the first foreign productions to do so.  The four part series was broadcast on BBC2 in November and December 2014, to rave reviews see a clip here


9. Desert oasis – The Gobi desert is Asia’s largest; an ‘endless sea’ known for its extremes of temperature ranging from -40 to +50 Celsius – temperatures can vary 35 degrees Celsius between day and night.   What few know is that the desert also holds a secret – high alpine meadows blanketed with lush grass and studded with Alpine trees, cold, fast running streams where wild horses and cattle roam.  Mandarin Film used these two extremes to great effect in Thirsty Earth – our micro-film shot through the summer for Chinese broadcaster CICC and eventually an international audience.  The aim was to show a stylized ‘before and after’ for the climactic shot of the documentary where we reveal the effects of a new technique for irrigation that could take the world by storm.  See more about Thirsty Earth here


8. In central Yunnan is a village untouched for hundreds of years where old ladies totter down shaded alleyways on ‘lotus feet’, traditional crafts are still made and cranes are birds rather than symbols of the new economy.  Little known and fiercely protected, Mandarin Film located this hidden gem and gained access to the last remaining women with bound feet for the BBC’s landmark series ‘The World Made by Women’ – a four part series on women’s role throughout history.  Next to Kunming’s West Lake, surrounded by mountains this really is a magical place and we’re sure it’s going to make an amazing sequence in the finished series, to be aired later in 2015.


7. Kung Fu Mountain The Wudang is a mountain range in the northwestern part of Hubei, China renowned for the practice of Taichi and as the Taoist counterpart to the Shaolin Monastery, more importantly it’s also what the Wutang Clan are named after. Mandarin Film worked side by side with German national public service TV broadcaster ZDF to make a new pilot series in China. Two German video gamers get off their couch and on a quest to find the real Chinese Kungfu. Heading to the Kungfu Academy which is straight out of Kung Fu Panda (the temple on the top of the mountain is modeled on Wudangshan), these two gamers go cold turkey in the birthplace of Kung Fu and live and train with real Kungfu masters for three days.  See the ZDF pilot shoot here.


6. Starbucks – Top shots in Beijing can be a little hard to come by, so when we heard of a new building just opened up in the south part of the city, we made sure we to check it out to see if the skyline would be as good as we thought it would be.  It was and we incorporated it into a new global campaign for Starbucks working with New York-based marketing agency Co-mission.  See more about Mandarin Film’s role in the Starbucks campaign here


5. Wild Wall – The Great Wall has obviously been done to death so it’s always nice when you find a different way to shoot it.  For a micro-film for UK-based creative agency Dunlop Goodrich with the theme ‘hopes and dreams’ we spent a good deal of time recceing and pulling in connections to film aerial footage of parts of the wall never seen before.  The idea was to show our key character (an extreme marathon runner)’s struggle partly through his environment.  Far away from the reconstructed fakeness of the tourist areas, here is the wall left to the wild – crumbling away, isolated and overgrown – lovely!


4. Cai Guoqiang – As if shooting a documentary feature film with Oscar winning director Kevin Macdonald and DOP Bob Yeoman wasn’t amazing enough, we found ourselves some pretty cool locations in Beijing and beyond.  Perhaps the most interesting one had been right under our noses all along – we gained unique access to film on the platform that Mao once delivered his “the people of China have stood up” speech, on the north side of Tiananmen Square.  Normally completely closed off to film crews, this spot was an amazing place to conduct an interview with one of China’s most famous artists – and we got some pretty amazing broll too.


3. Ice Fishing – Cooking shows are going to ever greater extremes to deliver exciting and unusual content to their audience.  Discovery’s Fearless Chef is a great example of how far they will go – in this case the remote north-east of China. In the depths of winter. At night.  Temperatures here can reach below -30 degrees celsius.  Perfect place for a spot of fishing.


2. Battle for Brocade - Nanjing Ming City Wall

Going back to the 14th century The Ming City Wall of Nanjing is a symbol of Nanjing’s time as the capital of the Ming Dynasty to protect Nanjing from invaders. Making the state protected Ming City Wall a national treasure. Standing on the wall near Jiefang gate, you will see the Jiming temple on the left, Xuanwu lake on the right and modern skyscrapers in the back - a perfect mix of Nanjing's past and present. After being selected for Discovery Asia's  "Nanjing Calling" series, Mandarin Film’s team produced a half hour documentary on the ancient royal art of Nanjing - Cloud Brocade. 


1. You’ve read this far, but I’m afraid we are going to have to tease you a little more.  Our number one project for locations is firmly under wraps until it is aired in late 2015!  A six part series for the BBC and PBS entitled ‘Story of China’ and presented by legend Michael Wood, the series cross crosses the length and breadth of China.  We can’t wait to share this series with you, but you’ll have to wait just a bit longer!


We hope you enjoyed those – if you’d like to learn more please do contact us at info@mandarinfilm.com

All the best from the Mandarin Film team