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


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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( 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:

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