APR 20 2017

China’s first international Virtual Reality (VR) travel series was created when Mandarin Film partnered with Discovery US and luxury travel operator Abercrombie & Kent.

The highly skilled international team travelled across the length and breadth of China, using the latest cutting edge techniques in VR filming to capture everything from iconic locations, hidden gems (and of course panda bears) to make an incredibly rich, visually stunning and beautifully diverse series.

In just ten days, the crew travelled across the major cities and landmarks of China: Beijing, Shanghai, Xi’an, Chongqing, Chengdu, and cruised along the Yangtze River to bring China’s highlights to the world’s eye using VR – Mandarin Film conducted research and location scouts during pre-production as well arranged all location access for the shoot, as well as providing key crew and fixing services for the duration of the shoot.

Mandarin Film was able to gain exclusive access into Beijing’s most sacred temple Temple of Heaven and one of the world’s most visited tourist sites XiAn’s Terra Cotta Warriors with nobody else inside, which gave them a great chance to capture a moment of zen.

The Terracotta Warriors was shot using a cutting edge technique known as photogrammetry - taking photos from all angles then stitching and mapping them in post-production to bring out an incredibly detailed 360-degree feel. 

Photogrammetry is used in fields such as topographic mapping, architecture, engineering, manufacturing, quality control, police investigation, and geology. Archaeologists use it to quickly produce plans of large or complex sites, and meteorologists use it to determine the wind speed of a tornados when objective weather data cannot be obtained.

It is also used to combine live action with computer-generated imagery in movies post-production; The Matrix is a good example of the use of photogrammetry in film (details are given in the DVD extras). Photogrammetry was used extensively to create photorealistic environmental assets for video games including The Vanishing of Ethan Carter as well as EA DICE's Star Wars Battlefront.

Other techniques were designed to give VR users insane birds-eye or action adventure views: whether be using camera to follow a kite-flyer on the busy Bund of Shanghai or sliding down the Great Wall toboggan, the journey was definitely one filled with great surprises and wonders of an authentic China.

http://www.discoveryvr.com/

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MAR 20 2017

Look out for ‘Gap Year’ a hilarious backpacker drama on Channel 4, Thursdays at 9pm in February and March 2017.

With almost a year’s recce, planning and permissions work with eleven film followed by shooting between July and September of 2016. Mandarin Film was the local production partner for the China part of the Channel 4 and TNT drama series , shooting in multiple locations across China.  

“E4 is strapping on its backpack and going travelling, having commissioned an exciting and funny original comedy-drama series Foreign Bodies (8 x 45’) from Eleven.

Gap Year is the story of a motley gang of travelers embarking on a three-month trip around Asia. British lads Sean and Dylan meet American girls May and Ashley in Beijing and opt to undergo the first leg of their travels together, but soon find that their journey takes them much further than any of them expected.

Will the gang manage to find the nirvana they seek as they camp on the Great Wall, wade through jungles in Malaysia, rub shoulders with ex-pats in Singapore and the crowds that throng the banks of the Ganges? Or will they lose their money, their passports and control of their bowels in a filthy backpacking hostel that doesn’t exist on Google maps? None of them get what they hoped for, but all gain something better, as they learn that no matter how far you go and how hard you try, you can’t take a holiday from yourself.”

Mandarin Film was involved in all aspects of the shoot, from research, recces, and permits to shooting across China.  Memorable locations included filming several days at the Great Wall with 70 crew in the middle of a heatwave (gallons of sun-cream plus comedy hats got us through), and having an actor throw a key prop into the Yangtze while filming on the Bund in Shanghai before realizing the replacement was a thousand miles away in Beijing….

“There’s loads of experiences I’ve had on the shoot which make you stop and think ‘wow we are actually making this show and it’s exactly the show we hoped it would be’. Being stood with Tom, Jamie and Jonathan, the director, on the great wall of China, having just finished all of the shooting and thinking ‘we actually did it, we actually shot on The Great Wall of China.’” Joel Wilson, Exec Producer Eleven Films

“For me the defining shot of the show is, one of the opening shots of the show, a big wide shot of a massive intersection in the middle of Beijing where we crash zoom into Dylan and Sean standing with a guide book and Sean’s comment that’s basically ‘Is there a beach nearby?’ In some ways this summarises the show, it’s about people who are out of their depth trying to make sense of their environment, and us watching them and having fun, whilst we see them navigate that world. 

We couldn’t be more delighted with what we shot in China, when you put in context and against the fact that it took so long to get the permission to shoot in China, when we actually got, for example on to The Great Wall and it was a beautiful sunny day and you had all the actors up there, it was tranquil, everything went smoothly and we were getting beautiful shots – it really felt worth it.

When we filmed live at the music festival at the Great Wall, towards the end of the schedule, it felt like we’re doing something quite innovative in some ways and when we were filming on the subways and at the train station in Beijing.

Our company makes factual films as well and we employed a documentary technique in some of those scenes where we were shooting live amongst real people and locations. To do that in Beijing felt very exciting…the process of getting to shoot in China was arduous but ultimately really worth it.” Jamie Campbell, Executive Producer, Eleven Films

We believe this is the first foreign drama to be shot entirely on location in China (other than just small scenes) – and we are proud to have been a part in it – particularly given how well it turned out.

Check it out on Channel 4 and let us know what you think!

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MAR 13 2017

Escaping the Temple premiered last month on Arte, the Franco-German public TV network.

“I have seen your documentary on Arte… It was beautiful, I had tears in my eyes most of the part of it. Beautiful images, beautiful people, beautiful dance and beautiful message. It touched me a lot… as myself trying to live of my art and passions. And I am so glad having discovered great artists! If you see or contact the choreographer and dancers, tell them that they are beautiful and so talented, and to continue on their way. Courage and patience is needed, but it worth it I think. I hope to see the dance in France one day! Thank you for it, and again, congratulations for your beautiful documentary, you are a great artist!” - French artist Alexandra Banti

In co-production with modern dance Choreographer Zhao Liang’s studio “Beijing Kind Giving Culture & Media Co. Ltd.”, Escaping the Temple mirrors the themes in the Zhao Liang’s dance performance of the same name. , Escaping the Temple tells the intensely personal intertwined stories of three sensitive, individualistic and rebellious modern dancers each reaching a crossroads in their lives. They must all resolve their issues to move forward.

It shows a China not well known to the world, young Chinese people who are creative and passionate, a new vision where ancient beliefs and culture collide with the moral and spiritual vacuum of modern-day capitalism.

Click here for the documentary. Online from February 20th to May 21st 2017

观看纪录片请戳这里,视频上线截至2017年5月21日

http://www.arte.tv/guide/de/058399-000-A/ausbruch-aus-dem-tempel-china-tanzt

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MAR 06 2017

2017 Ten China Locations

2017 Ten China Locations

It’s that time of the year again when the firecrackers chase the ghosts of years past away and the year of the rooster is ushered in.  A chicken-licious happy new year to all!

Our new year tradition has come around too – sending out the most unusual, beautiful and diverse locations from around China we have had the pleasure of working on over the last year.  Enjoy!

 

10. Colors of China

We spend several weeks travelling the lengths and breadths of China in the pursuit of three colors: Red, Yellow and Blue.  For France’s Voyages channel and in collaboration with ZED, we hope the three part series will show off the untold beauty and diversity of this country.  Perhaps the most instagram-tastic location was the steep cliffs and petrographic geomorphology of the ‘rainbow mountains’ (see below pic ♯nofilter!)

See trailer here

 

9. Gap Year

We were lucky enough to be involved in what we think is the first foreign TV drama series ever to be filmed in China (feel free to tell us we’re wrong!)  Appearing on Channel 4 in Spring 2017, Gap Year (former working title Foreign Bodies) is an 8 part series that follows the exploits of five backpackers making their way through Asia.  China’s memorable locations included filming several days at the Great Wall with 70 crew in the middle of a heatwave (gallons of sun-cream plus comedy hats got us through), and having an actor throw a key prop into the Yangtze while filming on the Bund in Shanghai before realizing the replacement was a thousand miles away in Beijing….

 

8. Jaguar Sky Road

Produced and directed by Patrick Carr for Jaguar, in collaboration with British-based branding company inc, Sky Road is the story of one of the most beautiful roads in the world, told by the man who designed it.  Through soaring tunnels and over gigantic bridges, this was drone and camera work that didn’t need much embellishment to make it sing.  Favorite moment – our police escort clearing the road for us while we motored in Jaguar’s finest!

 

7. Milk

We came all the way to the Chinese capital of diary Hohhot, Inner Mongolia on a mission of milk:  To visit the dairy giant Mengniu and greet its resident bovine superstars. Working with German production house Eikon Film, we arranged exclusive access into Mengniu’s diary farms and factories and were awed by the efficiency of its production lines (along with how much sanitation procedures and clothes we need to put on before getting anywhere!) – the best was when the crew tried to capture some beautiful moments of the golden Mongolian sunset and were encircled by an entourage of two hundred curious cows (possibly wanting to give feedback on our drone flying technique)

 

6. Game Fever

Game Fever, a feature doc directed by legend director Hervé Martin-Delpierre follows the worldwide phenomenon that is online gaming.  The doc follows key gamers who have earned millions from their sport, but want more than that – gaming immortality.  Best location?  A football stadium in Lanzhou in distant North-West China packed with more than thirty thousand gamers cheering on their heroes in one of gaming’s biggest tournaments. 

See the trailer here

 

5. CRRC Trains

In a week, we moved from high- speed train to subway to tram and gained access to one of the most top secret (non-military) factories in China, witnessing the production of a Chinese transportation miracle: the Chinese

bullet train.

 

4. Discovery VR

Traveling across Beijing, Shanghai, Xi’an, Chongqing, Chengdu, and a cruise along the Yangtze River, we captured more than twenty locations for the  Discovery VR team in just ten days – Mandarin Film arranged all location access and were able to film exclusively inside the Temple of Heaven and Terra Cotta Warriors with nobody else inside (felt a bit lonely wi thout all that crazy tourist traffic, but we did have a lot of terracotta to keep us company). As far as we know this is the first VR travel series to be shot in China and the best moment for us was the sun rising on the Temple of Heaven, with just a tai chi master performing his elegant moves inside the famous hall where the Emperor used to offer his prayers… a truly zen moment.

 

3. Planet Earth 2 One Amazing Day

We can’t say too much about this one because it isn’t out yet, but please watch out for the amazing Chinese locations (wink) and incredible Chinese language version tailored for a Chinese audience (nudge).  Mandarin Film is proud to be involved in this first ever UK/China treaty film. Hitting screens globally in 2017/2018.

 

2. Dicaprio Before The Flood

With an amazing dreamteam cast including Dicaprio himself, President Obama, Elon Musk and Pope Francis,'Before the Flood' is a powerful reminder of the challenges we face to our environment.

Known for its Nat Geo documentary Green China Rising and having previously worked with director Fisher Stevens on Skyladder Mandarin Film was called in to arrange the Chinese part of the shoot.  With such a high profile celebrity the logistics and security had to be flawless - Dicaprio’s popularity in China meant that we estimated we had around 3-5 minutes in any public location before we ran the risk of being mobbed.

After last minute nerves getting filming permits and a visa for DiCaprio the shoot turned out amazingly well, interviewing China’s highest profile environmental minister, a climate activist and getting amazing footage around Beijing.  Best location?  A roller coaster rickshaw ride around the old city trying not to think about insurance cover.

 

1.  Free(ze)running at Harbin Ice Festival

Welcome to Harbin Ice Festival! Full scale replicas of palaces, temples, castles, and….chickens.  A playground for world - class free runner Jason Paul, who wowed the  ice-sugar haw wielding crowds. Jason Paul gave performances of his excellent free running to visitors with jaw-dropping, film-equipment busting temperatures of -25 Celsius degree.  The coolest part of our chilliest shoot ever?  Using a snow machine to create a snowstorm, Jason flipped, twirled and generally did his free-running thing – proving he for one is definitely no chicken.   Check out the video here!

Check out the video here

 

Not enough amazing locations?  Sign up for our blog to receive them hot off the press, and check out last year’s too!

 

 

Happy New Year!

Peace, love and poultry,

The Mandarin Film team

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JAN 18 2017

The Crowd & The Cloud

The Crowd & The Cloud(crowdandcloud.org)is an exciting new four part series for PBS exploring the new frontier of citizen science in the age of mobile technology.

“Are you interested in birds, fish, the oceans or streams in your community? Are you concerned about fracking, air quality, extreme weather, asthma, Alzheimer’s disease, malaria or other epidemics? Now you can do more than read about these issues. You can be part of the solution.

Smartphones, computers and mobile technology are enabling regular citizens to become part of a 21st century way of doing science. By observing their environments, monitoring neighborhoods, collecting information about the world and the things they care about, citizen scientists are helping professional scientists to advance knowledge while speeding up new discoveries and innovations. The results are improving health and welfare, and giving communities the power to create urgent change and help themselves.

Citizen science has amazing promise, but also raises questions about data quality and privacy. Its potential and challenges are explored in The Crowd & The Cloud, a 4-part public television series premiering in March/April 2017. Hosted by former NASA Chief Scientist Waleed Abdalati, each episode takes viewers on a global tour of the projects and people on the front lines of this disruptive transformation in how science is done, and shows how anyone, anywhere can participate.”

With a tight deadline and limited budget, Mandarin Film was tasked to deliver stories from China about three leaders in the environmental field including a pioneering activist, Ma Jun, a passionate environmentalist Peggy Liu, chairperson at Joint US-China Collaboration on Clean Energy (JUCCCE), and Kate Logan, director of the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs (IPE) who explained in their different ways the challenges facing China and some possible new solutions to some of the thorny problems the world currently faces.

One such solution is the Blue Map App, which was created by the IPE, enabling the public to check up on air and water quality, local sources of pollution, and keep record of emissions from 9,000 polluting companies.

The app includes a new function known as “Filthy Rivers” whereby users can report filthy rivers near where they live by uploading a photo and location pin, and have the choice to share on social media and report to the local environmental bureau so they can take action on cleaning up the river. This way, everyone becomes an activist.

Mandarin Film provided full production support across two cities (Beijing and Shanghai) including research, prep, logistics, equipment rental, translation, finding contributors and organizing crew and equipment hire.  DOPs were Elliot Debruyn and Alex Opdam, Produced by Wen Yujia and Li Qiuping.  Head of Production Patrick Carr. 

Funded by the National Science Foundation, The Crowd & The Cloud is created by Geoff Haines-Stiles Productions, Inc., an award-winning producer of science documentaries for PBS and international broadcasters, and is supported by a global network of subject experts and advisors. We hope you enjoy taking part in this multimedia experiment, and follow us to view the future of science in a whole new light!

 

See the trailer here: 

You can download the Blue Map App here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/wei-lan-tu-rang-ni-dui-zhou/id838211758?mt=8

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NOV 23 2016

Game Fever Feature Doc imminent worldwide release

Working with French production company ZED, Mandarin Film provided extensive production services for their new feature length 4K documentary ‘Game Fever’

“Shot in 4K on a budget of €1.25 million, the film follows a group of elite players ­– Moon, Gogoing, Cha Jihoon, Sky and sOs – who are stars in the world of competitive multi-player video game tournaments, such as League of Legends, Warcraft 3 and Starcraft II.

“Dalian Wanda came on board because they were thinking of producing a film about eSports to reach the huge community of fans in Asia,” explains Zed president and the doc’s producer Manuel Catteau. “They thought it would be better to team up with us, rather than producing their own film.”

The move marks the first time Dalian Wanda has backed a theatrical feature-length documentary.

Martin-Delpierre came up with the idea for Game Fever after meeting South Korean pro gamer Jang “Moon” Jae-Ho.

“The story of Moon is very universal – it’s about a young man trying to find a way in life between the virtual world and the real world. It’s about young guys trying to be men,” he tells realscreen during a break in editing for the doc. “A lot of people know nothing about video games or eSports. They know nothing about the Chinese spirit or the Korean spirit. It’s a complex story.” Realscreen – July  2016

Mandarin Film provided full production support for the China shoots including research, prep and production support in the form of crew and equipment hire. 

A key challenge was dealing with crazy schedules of the gamers – not only are they either practicing 24/7 or travelling around the world to international tournaments, but they are also super-rich megastars themselves, and the demands on their time is relentless! 

Fortunately we managed to negotiate quality time with each of the protagonists, the documentary offering an intimate and startling insight into the hidden world of pro-gaming.

The films’ Asia premiere was in Bangkok, and Mandarin Film had the pleasure of attending.

 

 

See the Trailer here

http://www.zed.fr/en/tv/production/catalogue/programme/game-fever?media=346

http://media.zed.fr/streaming/tv/214-game-fever/trailer01an.mp4

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/gamefeverthefilm

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NOV 17 2016

Feature Length Doc Escaping the Temple Wins Fresh Pitch!

Escaping the Temple won the first prize at Fresh Pitch held in late October at Dongshan, Suzhou. The Fresh Pitch jury invited commissioning editors from mainstream documentary channels, festivals and sectors in China, the UK, the US, Canada and South Korea and the emerging forces and inter-disciplinary partners in the documentary field.

Mirroring the themes in the dance performance of the same name by modern dance Choreographer Zhao Liang, Escaping the Temple tells the intensely personal intertwined stories of three sensitive, individualistic and rebellious modern dancers each reaching a crossroads in their lives. They must all resolve their issues to move forward.

It shows a China not well known to the world, young Chinese people who are creative and passionate, a new vision where ancient beliefs and culture collide with the moral and spiritual vacuum of modern-day capitalism.

Escaping the Temple will be aired on French/German national broadcaster Arte’s La Lucarne in Spring/Summer 2017.

 

 


'Escaping the Temple' trailer:

 

Interview with the director at Fresh Pitch:http://v.qq.com/x/page/y0340o27j2m.html

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OCT 26 2016

'Before the Flood' - Leonardo Dicaprio doc premier...

With an amazing dreamteam cast including Dicaprio himself, President Obama, Elon Musk and Pope Francis,'Before the Flood' is a powerful reminder of the challenges we face to our environment.

Known for its Nat Geo documentary Green China Rising and having previously worked with director Fisher Stevens on Skyladder Mandarin Film was called in to arrange the Chinese part of the shoot.  With such a high profile celebrity the logistics and security had to be flawless - Dicaprio’s popularity in China meant that we estimated we had around 3-5 minutes in any public location before we ran the risk of being mobbed.

After last minute nerves getting filiming permits and a visa for DiCaprio the shoot turned out amazingly well, interviewing China’s highest profile environmental minister, a climate activist and getting amazing footage around Beijing, including a ride on a rickshaw on the streets of Beijing.

Mandarin Film handled all aspects of production including prep, permissions, visas, logistics, crew, and equipment.

 

Watch an introduction by Dicaprio here  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8dxAgt9XXPU 

…and the official trailer here  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6UGsRcxaSAI  

 

The film has been in theaters around the world and had its world TV premiere on National Geographic on October 30th, but in recognition of the subject’s importance, NG will also release it for free on youtube, hulu, google play, facebook and itunes.

"Fisher Stevens' latest documentary (formerly titled The Turning Point) chronicles Leonardo DiCaprio's campaign to raise global awareness about the dangers of climate change in his role as a UN Ambassador of Peace.

Future generations will judge us by how we deal with climate change. 'Before the Flood' is a rousing call to action from longtime environmental advocate Leonardo DiCaprio and actor/filmmaker/Oscar-winning documentary producer Fisher Stevens (The Cove). Named as a United Nations Ambassador of Peace, DiCaprio is on a mission. The film follows him as he travels to multiple countries, bearing witness to climate change on a scale that no one should deny.

From the toxic tar sands of Alberta to the frequently flooded streets of Miami Beach, from the smog-choked avenues of Beijing to the incinerated forests of Indonesia, DiCaprio meets with scientists, politicians, and activists to face the facts: natural disasters are becoming more frequent, wildlife is vanishing, communities are being destroyed. What is to be done?

This isn't the first environmental documentary and it won't be the last. But DiCaprio's charisma makes it one of the most accessible. His passion and inquisitiveness radiate in his blunt talk and genuine curiosity. He confesses to feelings of pessimism, but he receives motivating wisdom from luminaries including entrepreneur and inventor Elon Musk, meteorologist and astronaut Piers Sellers, activist and environmentalist Sunita Narain, and President of the United States Barack Obama.

As it sweeps us along on its fascinating tour, 'Before the Flood' reminds us of the beauty and diversity of our world. It also galvanizes us to do whatever it takes to save the planet — and ourselves." From TIFF review, 2016

Other reviews:

Guardian review: 

https://www.theguardian.com/film/2016/oct/20/before-the-flood-review-leonardo-dicaprio-climate-change-documentary

National Geographic Interview with Dicaprio about the doc:

 http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/10/enric-sala-global-warming-climate-change-arctic-btf/

Variety Review: 

http://variety.com/2016/film/reviews/film-review-before-the-flood-leonardo-dicaprio-1201897172/

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OCT 11 2016

Skyladder: The Art of Cai Guoqiang Coming soon

Skyladder will finally be reaching a mass audience - The show will premiere on Netflix around the world as one of 'Netflix Originals’ on October 14th, 2016

Mandarin Film is proud to be the production partner for the project in China, with Patrick Carr as Supervising Producer: China.

Please take a look if you can!

 

See official trailer here

..and a clip here

Review in Time Out Beijing link

and imdb link   

 

CHINESE LINK   See official trailer here  

 


 

Skyladder: The Art of Cai Guoqiang

 

Cai Guo-Qiang is an electrifying artist who creates massive drawings from fireworks, meant to unite Eastern philosophy and contemporary social issues. Most famous for the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics, Cai explores the connections between the human and the cosmic, destruction and creation, the eternal and the fleeting. The film follows the artist across the globe as he creates large-scale, visually stunning new work with explosives, and it traces his rise from an ordinary child growing up in China during the Cultural Revolution to the art superstar that he is today.

Mandarin Film was the China production services provider for this documentary feature film, arranging everything from permissions, logistics, crew, equipment to government liaison.  A memorable moment was having eight camera crews overlooking the 2014 Beijing APEC event where Cai was organizing a firework art piece for the world’s leaders and being told that our crews would be shot by snipers if they moved from their designated areas!  Sharpens the mind.

The most challenging part of the shoot came at the denouement of the film, when (without giving too much away) Cai attempts to suspend a 500 meter firework ladder from an enormous hot-air balloon.  In total we organized eleven camera positions, with everything from Red Epics, Amiras, Movi rigs and Gopros to two remote control helicopter crews circling the action (in high wind). 

To stay away from prying eyes, the event took place on a remote island with little electricity or internet connection, and several tonnes of equipment needed to be shipped to and fro using local fishing boats.  On top of this, the onset of typhoon season meant days of delays, and a shoot on the edge of safety limits (No one wants a balloon carrying a ladder containing several tonnes of detonating fireworks drifting over their head). 

The film has been selected for Sundance 2016:

“With unfettered access, filmmaker Kevin Macdonald combines the artist’s intimate reflections with interviews from friends, family, and members of the art world. Vérité footage of Cai's artistic process culminates in his final realization of a lifelong pursuit: Sky Ladder, a visionary, explosive event that he pulls off in his hometown in China after 20 years of failed attempts. Kevin Macdonald’s superbly constructed, luminous film captures for posterity the brilliance of an artist whose ephemeral work is, by its nature, completely of the moment.”

To know more about Sundance,click here.

Produced by Fisher Stevens (The Cove, Racing Extinction), Directed by Kevin Macdonald (Touching the Void, Last King of Scotland) and shot in part by Bob Yeoman (any Wes Anderson film you care to mention), this all star cast and crew was an incredible film to be involved with. 

Skills employed:  Mandarin Film, Documentary, television, tv, movie, micro-film, production, China, Beijing, fixing, location scouting, recce, crew hire, kit hire, cameraman, soundman, directing, director, subtitling, editing, editor, translation, media, aerial photography, drone, feature documentary, sundance.

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JUL 01 2016

Wu Zetian on Channel 4

This Sunday at 8pm on Channel 4, we will be diving into the world of China's forgotten Emperor Wu Zetian.

In the summer and autumn of 2015 Mandarin Film worked with True North to recreate the world of ‘Evil’ Empress Wu Zetian; China’s first and only empress of China in the seventh century.

Click here to see the trailer for Wu Zetian

Click here for Channel 4's programmes page

 

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