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:

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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 

…and the official trailer here  


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:

National Geographic Interview with Dicaprio about the doc:

Variety Review:

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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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