MAY 09 2018

“For thousands of years, Chinese dragons have been symbols of power and auspiciousness. This is what marks them apart from dragons in the West.” In a quiet exhibit room of National Museum of China, world famous art director John Howe stands in front of the six thousand year old Dragon and Tiger tomb. He talks animatedly with Chinese experts about the dragon culture which he sees it as his one true passion in life.

Mandarin Film collaborated with Cerigo Films on their new landmark documentary “Dragon!”, a 4 episodes series commissioned by ARTE featuring John Howe, who was the concept artist for the movie trilogies “Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit”.

In this series, John Howe takes his sketch book to in a journey across space and time to get to the heart of dragon legends and myths around the world. This time, he set foot on an ancient soil, China, to discover hidden secrets among the descendants of the dragon.

John Howe has a keen interest in and deep relations with Chinese culture. He first came to China over twenty years ago and has developed life-long friendships with a range of the most well known Chinese artists. No wonder he’s adored by a huge Chinese fan-base. He’s treated like a superstar wherever we go. Shan-Shan Wang, – Mandarin Film Producer.

Key challenges for the production were obtaining the permissions to access some of the most closely guarded national cultural relics at the Great Wall and China’s National Museum. Working closely with CARFTE (The Chinese Association for Radio, Film and Television Exchange), Mandarin Film was able to obtain permissions for all of the filming sites and appropriate visas for the foreign crew.

Cerigo Films is a respected production company with more than 10 years of experience making high-quality television series as well as fictions such as, “The Lord of the Castle”(commissioned by ARTE, France 3 Alsace), “Looking for the Hobbit”(commissioned by ARTE), “Paroles de Vitrail”(France Televisions)

"Dragon!" documentary series is now in post-production stage, and aims to be released winter 2018 on ARTE TV. Created by Yannis Metzinger and Alexis Metzinger. Directed by Rüdiger Mörsdorf, featuering John Howe and presented by Nicolas Mezzalira.

Photo credit Mandarin Film

Photo credit Cerigo Films

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APR 23 2018

In early 2018 US news site Upworthy,  “covering current events in a way that elevates the shared conversation and ourselves.” Commissioned Mandarin Film to produce a short video as part of a global series about long term change-makers, entitled ‘the Long Game’. 

The Nature Conservancy has been involved in environmental protection all over the world for seventy years now, and in China for almost thirty. 

The Nature Conservancy is enhancing the quality of life in China by using science supported by international and local expertise to ensure that China can solve its most pressing environmental challenges—like the threats linked with rapid urbanization and climate change.’

The concept behind the series is that change doesn’t happen overnight, real change only occurs with many years, decades even, of solid application.  With more than a decade of producing experience in China, Mandarin Film couldn’t agree more!

We arranged to go to Heqing, Yunnan Province in China’s far South-West corner, to film TNC’s work around Plateau Wetland and Bird Habitat Conservation.  We were blown away by what we witnessed.  Amongst the rapid development of the area what we found was a quiet, clean haven for birds of every stripe, and a paradise for bird watchers and nature-lovers.

Looking deeper we discovered a great example of how NGOs can collaborate with government and the community to effect change and make everyone’s lives better – people and wildlife too, and hopefully create a better future for our kids and their kids.  The Long Game indeed!

During our two day shoot we filmed a number of incredible sequences, kids in the local middle school getting a lesson in what part they could play; a temple right on the wetland where the abbot is working with TNC to make sure that when pilgrims release fish in the lake (to gain good karma) it’s a non-invasive species that they release.  Finally we were blown away by the sheer number and diversity of the birds we filmed.  [Ruddy Shelduck,Purple Swamphen,Common Coot,Greylag Goose,Common Merganser,Great Egret,Northern Pintail,Northern Shoveler]

Filming using the latest DJI drone ‘Inspire 2’, Amira with long lens monoscope for close up wildlife shots, and Sony A7s with Gimbal, we hope you will agree we were able to capture everything from breathtaking aerials to close ups of rare bird species, from the clear limpid depths of the wetland to the colorful local people that have worked alongside and in harmony with nature for thousands of years.

A rare ray of sunlight in an often unremittingly dark news cycle, Mandarin Film is proud to have played its part in bringing TNC’s work in the wetlands to a wider audience.

You can find out more and donate to the TNC here 

Mandarin Film has long been a supporter and passionate advocate for environmental causes, producing everything from a Oscar nominated ‘Before the Flood’ with Leonardo Dicaprio, ground-breaking documentary ‘Green China Rising’ for National Geographic in 2011, to short ‘micro films’ for a Chinese audience like ‘Thirsty Earth’.

Mandarin Film recently launched a new initiative called ‘Fresh Start’ whereby it donates its time and resources to help NGO’s and charities hone and market their vision using the power of the video.  We do this work completely for free.  If you know of a worthy beneficiary of this, let us know at info [at]

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APR 13 2018

Mandarin Film collaborated with Icon Films to produce the Chinese episode of their new show “Mighty Rivers”, a 6-part series commissioned by Animal Planet US/Discovery Channel and distributed by ITV G about the world’s  six greatest rivers, featuring angling superstar Jeremy Wade.

The world’s freshwater monsters are vanishing – and for biologist Jeremy Wade, that’s a wake-up call: a sign that our rivers are in trouble. Polluted, controlled, and over-exploited, even the mightiest are said to be dying. But are things really that bad, or that simple?

In Mighty Rivers, Jeremy sets out to take the pulse of six of the planet’s biggest waterways. With the same immersive style that’s made him a global TV star, Jeremy investigates the Amazon, the Ganges, the Yangtze, the Mississippi, the Danube, and the Zambezi. Are these huge rivers really sick beyond the point of hope? Or have reports of their death been greatly exaggerated? Which if any of them can be revived?

From insane mega-cities to remote plains, audiences travel with Jeremy as he mixes with the people who live along these rivers, tests their waters, and tries to make sense of what’s happening. After years of solving freshwater mysteries, this is more than just another adventure. In Jeremy’s own words, it’s the most important mission of his life.”

Icon Films is a respected production company with twenty years of experience making high-quality television programming across many factual genres – ‘River Monsters’, ‘Primal Survivor’ and ‘Savage Kingdom’ are global hit shows.  Their best-known work is River Monsters, the most popular series on Animal Planet for the past nine years.

After six months of pre-production, Mighty Rivers brought the Icon crew to China in summer 2017, for many of them it was their very best time to China. Together, our journey started in the teeming metropolis of Shanghai and ended in the quiet beauty of the high plateaus of the Tibetan plateau.

I was amazed that Jeremy even studied Mandarin prior to coming and learned quite quickly to become a wandering local in such a short period! Jeremy spoke with people from all walks of life in the hope to learn more about China’s ‘mother river’ and all those that rely on her for their livelihood, passion and traditions. “ YuJia – Mandarin Film Producer

Mandarin Film was the local partner that oversaw the whole spectrum of activities – from research, character casting, story development, film permit, location management. The shoot  involved a three-week recce months prior to the shoot.

The most challenging part was obtaining the permissions to access some of the science institutes and nature reserves, but it was worth it for the highlights:

- Filming Jeremy riding a bicycle along the top of the Three Gorges Dam while riding a bicycle

- Taking a speedboat in the midst of a downpour and seeing finless porpoises making their way up the river

- Standing atop 4,500m high peaks in the Tibetan Plateau and filming the stunning aerials Jeremy needs to tell his story of the source of the Yangtze water

- Attending the biggest fish-release event in Shanghai, arranged by Buddhists who volunteer to come together and released over 6,800 kilograms of carp fish to save them from the slaughter (thereby gaining karma for themselves). 

Working closely with CITVC (China International Television Corporation), Mandarin Film obtained permissions for all of the filming sites and appropriate visas for the foreign crew.

Simply put, it was 21 days across 10 cities and many unforgettable memories shared.

Mandarin Film continues to work with Icon on new ideas for filming unforgettable shows in China.


See the trailer here 

Screening Schedule

Ep 1: Ganges, 8th April 2018 - Animal Planet US 

Ep 2: Yangtze, 15th April 2018 - Animal Planet US 

Ep 3: Mississippi, 22nd April 2018 - Animal Planet US 

Ep 4: Danube, 29th April 2018 - Animal Planet US 

Ep5: Amazon, 6th May 2018 - Animal Planet US 

Ep6: Zambezi 13th May 2018 - Animal Planet US

Mandarin Film Crew – Head of Production Patrick Carr, Producer Yujia, Researcher Li Qiuping, Post production producer Li Wei, Soundman Li Shuo

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