New Zealand and China film deal produces first project: Beast of Burden
A movie deal between New Zealand and China is finally taking flight, with the announcement of it's first feature film to release.
The big budget, animated film Beast of Burden, has been set up as the first movie to be made under a co-production treaty between the two nations.
It has been set up with the intention to connect New Zealand and China's' film and television industries, after years of slow build-up, Variety reports.
The film, whose Chinese title translates as The Legend of the Magic Elephant, is an animated family film about a mythical creature and his son whose lives change when they come across a secret, special cave.
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Co-directed by Kirby Atkins and Huang Jun, and produced by New Zealand's Huhu Studios and China Film Animation, Beast of Burden is said to be the first of 17 projects under discussion.
New Zealand unusually has both film and TV treaties with China, but they went largely unused for several years.
The NZFC China Co-Production Development Fund provided initial financing for the project. Its CEO Dave Gibson said that New Zealand and China are highly complimentary to each other when it comes to such projects.
"We in New Zealand should realise that we are an Asian country, and should take advantage of being largely in the same time zone as the world's second largest film industry," he told Variety.
Beast of Burden is preceded by The Wonder 3D, a family/action/adventure film shot in Auckland and Qingdao which is currently in post-production.
Another feature film to follow will be Cain and Abel, set in the aftermath of the Californian Gold Rush, which sees a Chinese family torn apart by hardship, betrayal and jealousy.
Television projects between the two countries include the recently completed ZooMoo Animal Friends, which explores the animal kingdom and promotes conservation.
The Colours of China is a documentary series produced by New Zealand's Making Movies, China Intercontinental Communication Centre, Australia's WildBear Entertainment, Germany's ZDF and Franco-German arts broadcaster Arte.
Kiddets, in pre-preoduction, is a 52-part series exploring art, culture and science, produced by Pukeko Pictures and China's Guangdong Huawen Century Animation Company.