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Thread: Monk Xuan Zang (Da Tang Xuan Zang )

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    Monk Xuan Zang (Da Tang Xuan Zang )

    More on this on the Kungfu Yoga thread.

    Oye! Masala
    Eros collaborates with China on film about a Buddhist monk who travelled across India for 17 years
    Published on Monday, 18 May 2015 13:10
    Written by Kiran Arora

    The Friday gone by was eventful for Eros. While the announcement came in around first ever Sino-Indian co-production with Chinese Film Corporation (CFC) in Shanghai which even had Prime Minister Narendra Modi on stage, what makes the film special is the fact that it tells the tale of a Buddhist monk who travelled across India many centuries ago.

    Titled Da Tang Xuan Zang (Monk Xuan Zang), the film is being made by Eros in collaboration with Chinese state owned production company, Chinese Film Corporation (CFC). The announcement came on the eve of PM Modi's highly anticipated visit to China. With this news, Eros International has become the first Indian studio to associate with the Chinese government and co-produce an Indo-Sino film. The movie which is based on the life of a Chinese monk (Monk Xuanzang) stars popular and multi-talented Chinese actor, Huang Xiaoming and will be directed by Huo Jianq.

    As per Wikipedia, Xuan Zang (c. 602 - 664), was a Chinese Buddhist monk, scholar, traveler, and translator who described the interaction between China and India in the early Tang dynasty. From boyhood, he took to reading religious books, including the Chinese classics and the writings of ancient sages. He later travelled throughout China in search of sacred books of Buddhism. Subsequently, he developed the desire to visit India. This is when he became famous for his seventeen-year overland journey to India, which is recorded in detail in the classic Chinese text Great Tang Records on the Western Regions.

    Coming back to the film, the film's announcement was made in the presence of the head of CFC, Mr. La Peikang, Mr. Kumar Ahuja - President, Business Development, Eros International Media Ltd and Mr. Tong Gang of SAPPRFT (State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television of the People's Republic of China) along with actor Huang Xiaoming and director Huo Jianq.

    Interestingly, there is also a Xuan Zang Memorial Hall in Nalanda, Bihar, India, hence re-affirming the historical reference and the relevance that the subject and the film enjoy.

    Article written by staff at Bollywood Hungama.
    Gene Ching
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    Opens this Friday!

    I'm looking forward to this one. Should be scenic.

    China hopes first Sino-Indian epic film to do well
    POSTED BY: GOPI APRIL 28, 2016



    By Gaurav Sharma

    Beijing, April 28 (IANS) China hopes that the first Sino-India epic film "Xuanzang", on a 7th century Buddhist monk's travel to India, will be a hit both at home and in India.

    Beijing is also hopeful that film's success will encourage filmmakers in both countries to join hands to make world-class movies.

    "Xuanzang", set to release on Friday in India and China, has been shot both in both countries.

    Directed by Huo Jianqi, the film features Bollywood actor Sonu Sood, who plays King Harsh during whose rule monk Xuanzang, enacted by Huang Xiameng, travelled to India and studied there for 17 years.

    "We hope the movie does well. If these two big countries work together, then I believe more qualified movies could be made not only for Asian market but for the world market," Yan Ni, director at the Asian Affairs Division in China's State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and TV, told IANS.

    The film depicts Xuanzang's arduous overland journey in India from where he brought the teachings of Buddhism to China.

    The movie is an offshoot of a joint production agreement between India and China signed during the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2014.

    Besides, "Kung Fu Yoga" and "Lost in India", starring actors from both the countries, are part of the venture.

    "Coproduction is based on the willingness of both sides. We hope to invite Indian movie professionals to shoot in China. It will also help Indian viewers understand China better. I am sure that there is lot of natural beauty in China," Yan told IANS.

    In India, the film has been shot at Gaya in Bihar where Lord Buddha attained enlightenment. It was also set in Tibet and Xinjiang in China.

    People in China, surprisingly youngsters, are already talking about the film.

    Jane, a 25-year old college student in Beijing, says she looks forward to watching "Xuanzang".

    "Though it (film) doesn't have my favourite actor, I will watch it. I have seen its preview. The plot seems great. It has elements from China and India," Jane told IANS.

    "It's rare to have movie on ancient India and China," Dan, 25, told IANS.

    But Lyn expects something different from Indian actors.

    "I have only watched modern Indian films and I am impressed by the dance and songs in them. I hope the Indian actors bring something different to us," Lyn told IANS.

    While Chinese movies like "Shaolin Soccer" and "Kung Fu Hustle" are quite popular in India, Bollywood's "Three Idiots", "PK" and "Dhoom 3" have made quite a mark in China.

    China is the largest film market outside the US. According to a film consultancy, China-made movies racked up $4 billion in 2015.

    (Gaurav Sharma is the Beijing-based correspondent of IANS. He can contacted at gaurav.s@ians.in)
    Gene Ching
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    Jonathan Kos-Read



    The American Who Accidentally Became a Chinese Movie Star
    The journey of Jonathan Kos-Read, better known as Cao Cao, is a good guide for anyone seeking to make it in China’s budding, chaotic film industry.

    By MITCH MOXLEY JULY 14, 2016

    Every foreigner living in China has his share of China Stories. Jonathan Kos-Read has more than his share. Here’s one: Not long ago, the 43-year-old American actor received a call with an offer to appear in “Ip Man 3,” the third in a series of biopics about Bruce Lee’s martial-arts master. The role was small, but his agent negotiated what Kos-Read considered an “outrageous” amount of money for it, and the producers agreed. Kos-Read was thrilled until he read the script and noticed another part for a foreign actor — a bigger and better role as a mobster named Frank.

    This was troubling. Kos-Read, who is known in China only as Cao Cao, is by far the leading foreign actor working in the country today, having appeared in about 100 movies and television programs since his career began in 1999. He is famous throughout the mainland, and his career has been on a steady upward trajectory. Last December he appeared in the action film “Mojin — The Lost Legend,” currently the fifth-highest-grossing movie in Chinese history. Who, Kos-Read wondered, would the producers have cast instead of him?

    Kos-Read sent panicked texts to the movie’s casting director, but they went unanswered. “I felt threatened,” he told me recently, only half kidding. A few days later, he boarded a plane from Beijing to Shanghai to begin filming. When he showed up to the set, the mystery was solved almost immediately: There, slouching on a stool surrounded by a scrum of people, was the former heavyweight champion of the world Mike Tyson. The retired fighter had been cast, perhaps misguidedly, as Frank. (The Village Voice later described Tyson’s performance in the film as “sadly unimpressive.”) Kos-Read introduced himself and over the next three days developed a bond with Tyson. “He was not at all what I expected,” Kos-Read says. The pair discussed their young daughters, Montessori schools and, inevitably, boxing. They also spoke about self-reinvention, something each man knows quite a bit about.

    “Ip Man 3” went on to gross $115 million at the box office in China, with more than half of that coming on the opening weekend. China’s booming movie market grew by nearly 50 percent last year and is expected to surpass North America’s as the largest in the world by next year. These days, Hollywood studios hardly greenlight a blockbuster without first asking, “How will this play in China?” The rewards are too vast. “Furious 7,” for example, earned $390 million in China — more than it made in the United States — and was for a time the highest-grossing film ever in the country.

    And just as Hollywood has begun to crack the market, Chinese cinema has come into its own. In recent years, Chinese studios have started shifting away from the agitprop that defined their cinematic output for generations and are instead focusing on genres that draw viewers to theaters in any country: action, adventure, comedy. In February, a sci-fi comedy called “The Mermaid” became the highest-grossing movie ever in China within 12 days of its release, earning more than $430 million. Increasingly, Chinese cinemagoers are opting to buy tickets for movies made specifically for them — like those in the “Ip Man” series — not those that pander to them or lecture them. It is in this sort of film that Kos-Read has finally had the chance to act, rather than portray a stand-in for Western imperiousness. If the Hollywood studios really want to understand how to succeed in China, Kos-Read’s journey makes for a kind of accidental guide.

    In January, I met Kos-Read at Beijing Capital International Airport to accompany him on a trip to Yiwu, a trading city in Zhejiang Province, 165 miles from Shanghai. From there we would take a van to Hengdian World Studios, the biggest back lot in the world, where he was filming a new TV series.

    Kos-Read was tired. He had flown in a few days before from the Bay Area, where his wife and two young daughters live; the actor now splits time between the United States and China, which he has called home for almost two decades. Kos-Read has wavy brown hair, a thick beard streaked with gray and the kind of broad face that looks good on camera. He curses a lot and often wears a look of deep contemplation that borders on exasperation. As we boarded the plane for our 10:30 p.m. flight, he sported a huge calf-length black parka, which he wears on set — Chinese sets are notoriously frigid in the wintertime — and carried a heavy backpack filled mostly with equipment for photography, a personal hobby. The airplane was only half full. Kos-Read lumbered through the center aisle until he reached the last row, where he heaved his backpack onto a seat and plopped down into another as if he were claiming a spot on a long-distance bus.

    During the two-hour flight, Kos-Read drank a few cans of Yanjing Beer and discussed his role in last year’s “Mojin.” In the film, he plays a lawyer to a cult leader. After the first act, he turns into a zombie. It was by far the biggest project of his career, with by far the biggest stars, and it increased his already-formidable exposure in China by degrees of magnitude. On our plane, a flight attendant recognized him from the film. (In California, by contrast, he is basically anonymous outside of Chinatowns.) Kos-Read was happy for the opportunity to appear in such a large movie but was disappointed with his performance, which he believes was adequate but not excellent. “In a lot of TV shows, you just have to spit out the lines, really. But in a big movie, you’ve really got to be good,” he told me. “In my first big movie, I stepped up into the big leagues and hit a single.”

    Still, acting in one of the biggest Chinese blockbusters of all time is a long way from where Kos-Read began. Raised in Torrance, Calif., he attended an arts high school, where he got interested in acting. He went on to study film and molecular biology at New York University. There, he took a Mandarin course and became determined to master the language. He moved to Beijing in 1997 and drifted, living for a period in a student dorm and forcing himself to speak nothing but Mandarin for a three-month stretch. “Like everybody else, I arrived and bummed around for two years, not knowing what I was going to do, trying to do a bunch of things, failing,” he says. “Teaching English.”

    Not long after he arrived, he began dating a Chinese woman named Li Zhiyin, a finance major in college who later became his wife. On one of their early dates, he picked up an English-language listings magazine and saw an ad seeking a foreign actor for a Chinese movie. Kos-Read had never lost his love for performing, and he thought it could be fun to act in China. He auditioned and got the part, which was supposed to pay the equivalent of about $400 for three months of work. In the movie, called “Mei Shi Zhao Shi” (“Looking for Trouble”), Kos-Read plays an American documentary filmmaker following around a group of disillusioned bohemians. He says it took the producers two years to pay him. But two weeks after the movie wrapped, he landed three months of work on a Chinese soap opera.

    There were only a handful of foreign actors working in China at the time, and Kos-Read quickly realized he offered filmmakers there a rare combination of traits. He spoke good Mandarin, was a decent actor and had a look that many Chinese consider typically “American”: six feet tall, square jaw, blue eyes. He was able to make a living in the industry, but his early roles weren’t great. At that stage of his career, most filmmakers still had limited exposure to foreigners and foreign cultures, and his early parts tended to reflect Chinese stereotypes of Westerners. He rarely played bad guys, because there are very few American villains in Chinese movies (those roles tend to go to the woeful cohort of Japanese actors working in China). Instead, Kos-Read was often typecast as a “dumb guy,” he says. Most frequently, he was an arrogant foreign businessman who falls for a local beauty, only to be spurned as she inevitably makes the virtuous choice to stay with her Chinese suitor. Sometimes he played the foreign friend whose presence onscreen is intended to make the main character seem more worldly; Kos-Read dubbed another stock character “the fool,” an arrogant Westerner whose disdain for China is, by the end of the movie, transformed into admiration.

    When he was studying Mandarin at N.Y.U., Kos-Read adopted a Chinese moniker, as many language students do. He took his, Cao Cao, from a historical general who is also a central character in one of the country’s most revered classical novels, “Romance of the Three Kingdoms.” Like a Chinese King Arthur or Davy Crockett, the original Cao Cao exists in fact and fiction and in between. Kos-Read chose the name because it was easy to remember and because he liked that Cao Cao was a wise, self-reliant man. Years later, the decision would prove wise indeed. To his Chinese audience, it showed that the American, despite his loutish onscreen personae, took an interest in their history and culture.

    continued next post
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    Continued from previous post

    Kos-Read acted in film and television for almost a decade before he truly found fame. Before the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, he landed his own segment on a Chinese news program called “Sunday.” Dubbed “Cao Cao Lai Le” (“Here Comes Cao Cao”), the weekly reality bit was designed to help increase the show’s ratings and give it a more international flavor by allowing Chinese viewers to experience their country anew through a foreigner’s eyes. The segment eventually devolved into Kos-Read more or less being goofy in front of the camera and enlisting Chinese people to cut loose with him. In one episode, for example, he trains to be a Hooters girl. (In China, the chain is known as “American Owl Restaurant.”) The show was enormously popular, and soon Kos-Read was being recognized on the street. “One of the reasons I liked ‘Cao Cao Lai Le’ — it was me,” he says. “Instead of playing stupid stereotypes on TV and in movies, I could go out and be me. It’s my personal prejudice that I’m more interesting than the characters I play.”

    In 2009, Kos-Read began writing a column called “Token White Guy” for an expat publication, Talk Magazine, in which he chronicled his on- and off-screen adventures. He wrote about the time an acquaintance enlisted him to act in an ad campaign, Kos-Read’s first. His friend told him the product was “some sort of medicine.” Then, Kos-Read showed up on set and read his line, which was written in English: “Do you want to be thicker, longer and harder? Then be like Cao Cao and use Strong Balls Hormone.” (He dropped the ad.) He wrote about the time he was cast to play an English Jew who falls in love with a prostitute and, riddled with guilt, drops to his knees and prays for forgiveness — from Jesus. And the time a Chinese magazine wrote a multi*page, entirely fictitious profile of him, and then emailed him a copy.

    “Cao Cao Lai Le” ran for about three years before the struggling “Sunday” dropped it (“Sunday” soon went off the air as well), but it led to better roles in film and TV and a long line of travel-show hosting gigs, which took him to virtually every region of China — from the deserts of the west to the grasslands of the north to the hilly metropolis of Chongqing.

    ‘Instead of “Jaws,” it’s, like, killing Japanese or hanging out with the emperor’s concubines.’
    Hengdian World Studios is sprawling and surreal, covering 8,000 acres and featuring a one-to-one scale model of Beijing’s Forbidden City. “You walk around, and you can’t tell the difference,” Kos-Read told me as we drove past the complex on the way to the set the next morning. Around the lot, different shows were being filmed. Tourists are allowed on set for 199 yuan ($30) per person, and groups of them were huddled around as filming took place. It offered a considerably different experience from the one you might encounter at a Universal Studios theme park. “Instead of ‘Jaws,’ it’s, like, killing Japanese or hanging out with the emperor’s concubines,” Kos-Read said.

    China’s film industry has long been focused on propaganda-laden historical epics, hence the need for a full-size Forbidden City replica. Even as China became a global superpower in the late 20th century, big-budget Chinese movies were, by and large, treacly, patriotic fare. And though tastes were shifting, the studios used their connections with the government to ensure their own films succeeded. In 2010, for example, the behemoth state-owned studio and distributor China Film Group pulled “Avatar” from 1,628 screens and replaced it with its own film, a Confucius biopic starring Chow Yun Fat.

    These days, movies and television shows are still often historical in nature, but they’re less overtly nationalistic and more focused on pure entertainment. Kos-Read was in Hengdian to film a period show with the English title “Knight’s Glove.” In it, he plays the British ambassador to China, a close friend of the Chinese lead. The story surrounds a search for a lost treasure, and on this day the crew was filming the pair’s reunion after years spent apart. The scene was filmed at the entrance to a building made to look like the British Embassy. Cheap-looking plastic Union Jacks fluttered outside in the breeze. Inside, the building was numbingly cold, as Kos-Read had warned; there was no insulation or heating. Russian extras in wool military outfits carried fake rifles and shuffled from side to side trying to keep warm. In between shots, Kos-Read donned his parka and applied heating pads called Nuan Baobao (“Warm Little Buddies”) to his stomach, lower back and feet. There was no coffee or tea; at one point some cast and crew members were handed plastic cups of warm water.

    Because the Chinese government allows only 34 foreign movies to enter the market per year, and the officials’ criteria for selection are mysterious, many American studios have sought to lessen the uncertainty by co-producing films with Chinese firms, thereby sidestepping the import rules (which apply only when a movie’s producers want a share of the box-office receipts, which is to say they apply, effectively, to all major Hollywood films). And yet few co-productions have achieved anything resembling commercial or critical success. Not only have studios struggled to find ways to appeal to both audiences, they’ve also struggled to work well together on set. This is at least in part because of the collision of two vastly different moviemaking cultures. Whereas Hollywood film sets have rather rigid, union-determined rules, Chinese sets are decidedly unsystematic, ad hoc, fly-by-the-seat-of-their-pants operations. (I once reported on a film whose special-effects guy was also in charge of payroll.) On this set, there were dozens of people, mostly young men, standing around in the cold who didn’t seem to have any job at all. It’s exactly these sorts of differences that have made Chinese-American co-productions so difficult, and those problems follow them to the box office.

    Hollywood can also stack the deck somewhat by pandering to Chinese audiences, but that comes at a cost: It grants enormous leverage to the Communist Party over how China is portrayed. Chinese censors have forced studios to cut scenes that they believed made China look weak. A 2015 report by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission offered an enlightening selection of anecdotes: In “Skyfall,” Chinese audiences never saw James Bond kill a Chinese security guard, as he does in the original edit; in “Mission: Impossible III,” censors cut a scene shot in Shanghai that showed garments drying on a clothesline; “Men in Black 3” had a scene removed that showed secret agents using a memory-erasing tool, leading some to speculate that the censors didn’t want to invite the allusion to censorship.
    continued next post
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    continued from previous post

    Often censors don’t even have to get involved, as studios have begun self-censoring their films to avoid the hassle. “Red Dawn” is perhaps the most infamous case. The 1984 original is about a guerrilla uprising against a Soviet invasion of America; in the 2012 remake, screenwriters updated the movie by casting China as the aggressor. MGM executives realized their error too late, and unwilling to risk offending the censors, they reportedly spent around $1 million in postproduction recasting North Korea as the invader.

    Despite the breadth of roles he has played in China, Kos-Read is passed over for most co-productions. Hollywood producers want to bring in their own talent, he says. And once, Chinese producers told him that because of the ubiquity with which he appears in Chinese cinema and television, he would make their production seem too local. He has acted in only two East-West movies: a deep-sea epic funded by a Chinese billionaire with a predominantly foreign cast, and a bigfoot movie shot in Shennongjia, a mountainous region in Hubei Province, where there have been hundreds of purported bigfoot sightings. Each film was plagued with on-set dysfunction, and neither has been released.

    Kos-Read says that the reason most co-productions fail is as much about the chaos on the Chinese side as it is the arrogance on the Hollywood side. “They come here and say, ‘We’re from Hollywood, we know better and whatever it is that you think is the right way to do it, it’s by definition not,’ ” he says. “You come in with an attitude like that, you will have a lot of problems. You will misunderstand the kind of stories they want to see.”


    Kos-Read, beside co-stars, telling a joke at the Beijing premiere of “Xuanzang.” Credit Sim Chi Yin/VII, for The New York Times

    And as Chinese filmmakers have figured out what sorts of stories Chinese audiences really want to see, the nature of Kos-Read’s work has changed for the better. Although his part in “Knight’s Glove” wasn’t groundbreaking, he is now often cast in increasingly complex parts.

    After the morning’s shoot, we drove across the lot to film another scene. In the back of the van, Kos-Read scrolled through photos on his phone of some of the roles he has played over the last two years, each with a distinct facial-hair style. They included: an American engineer who worked on the first locomotive in China; Gen. Douglas MacArthur; an “[expletive] lawyer”; a World War II radio announcer; a hip-hop dancer; a wisdom-dispensing alcoholic barfly; a Mafia boss; an antiquities expert; a sleazy Russian lounge lizard; a cowboy; a bisexual fashion designer; and a French detective.

    Kos-Read believes the growing variety of roles for foreign actors like him is a result of more Chinese exposure to outsiders. “There are more foreign actors now,” he says. “Chinese know some foreigners. So they write more interesting characters. I’m lucky because I usually get to do the better stuff.”

    This trend is likely to continue. The money coming from Chinese producers, and the spending power of Chinese audiences, is simply too great to ignore, and anyone venturing to China from Hollywood — whether producer, actor or cameraman — has to learn how to play by Chinese rules. That means adapting stories to the changing desires of film fans, and learning how to cooperate on China’s less regimented movie sets. Hollywood pros may be arrogant, says Jonathan Landreth, editor of the website China Film Insider, who has been covering the Chinese entertainment industry for more than a decade, but “in the melding of minds between China and Hollywood, there’s been a tipping in the balance of power. So much money is driving these productions that the folks in Hollywood have to listen.”

    In the afternoon, the director of “Knight’s Glove,” a young man with bleached blond hair, recruited me to play an extra in a scene with Kos-Read. I would be a driver. I wondered aloud who was supposed to have played the driver, but no one answered, and instead I was shepherded outside to a wardrobe truck and outfitted in a World War I-era military uniform with a Brodie helmet.

    As I dressed in the truck, Kos-Read approached with a Chinese crew member and said, “They asked me to make sure you knew that they weren’t actually going to pay you or anything.” I laughed. As absurd as it may seem to be yanked from the sidelines in an instant and thrown in front of the camera, this kind of thing happens with surprising regularity for foreigners in China, and moments like these become the kind of China Stories that keep people like Kos-Read around for so long.

    We filmed four or five takes of a short scene in the car. I pretended to drive, yanking the steering wheel back and forth with the kind of comical exaggeration you might see in “The Andy Griffith Show.” Two cameras glided on a track and crane outside the car while Kos-Read, sitting in the back, and a young Russian actor, who sat beside me, exchanged a few lines of dialogue. The Russian had until recently been a student in Jinhua, a nearby city, but was now trying his hand at an acting career. Maybe it would have worked out for him had he started a decade and a half ago, like Kos-Read, but his performance didn’t bode well. He struggled with the lines; his English was wooden, the delivery stilted.

    Kos-Read, on the other hand, naturally eased into character as soon as they started rolling. He said his lines in a British accent, smoothly and barely above a whisper, looking out the window as the camera swept by.

    Mitch Moxley is a writer based in New York. His articles have appeared in GQ, The Atlantic and The Atavist Magazine. He lived in Beijing for six years.
    I'll have to watch for Kos-Read from now on.
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    An update

    Chinese filmmaker has emotional shooting experience in India
    POSTED BY: GOPI SEPTEMBER 5, 2016

    Chinese filmmaker has emotional shooting experience in IndiaNew Delhi, Sep 5 (IANS) Chinese director Huo Jianqi, who came to India to shoot for India-Chinese co-production film "Xuan Zang", says shooting in India was an emotional experience for him.

    Jianqi is in India for the first BRICS Film Festival, where "Xuan Zang" was screened on Sunday.

    "Last year when we had finished shooting of 'Xuan Zang' in China, we came to India in July or August. We went to Mumbai, Aurangabad, Nalanda and Ajanta Caves for shooting," Jianqi said at a panel discussion titled "BRICS Co-production: The Way Forward" on Monday.

    "We got a tremendous support from the Indian side. We were amazed by the expertise that Indians have and how much technologically advanced India is," he added.

    Jianqi shared that the only problem that he faced was the humidity.

    "It is very hot here. It was very tough for us to shoot in the humid weather, but Indians helped us a lot in making it possible. I had a very emotional experience shooting in India. It was a positive one," Jianqi said.

    The historical adventure film stars Chinese actors Huang Xiaoming and Kent Tong. It also features Indian actors Sonu Sood, Ali Fazal and Neha Sharma.

    Asked about the possibilities for an Indian producer to go to China and collaborate with a producer there, Jianqi said: "Indian films are really famous in China and are gaining popularity. In the 1960s, there was Raj Kapoor's 'Awara'. Now also films like '3 Idiots' and 'PK' are getting popular."

    "So the future is really bright and I hope that the problem of restriction on films will change very soon," he added.

    Jianqi said that Chinese believe that "Indians are very beautiful and good looking".

    "We might be two different countries, but our emotions are very similar. It's difficult for me to forget the shooting experince that we had in India," he added.

    Talking about more collaborations between India and China, Jianqi said: "Chinese film industry has a long history of collaboration with Hollywood. That's why that market is in a good shape right now.

    "Chinese films have not been able to get better response in the Indian market. That's because there is a lack of common grounds regarding topics and themes. Both the sides have larger side of population."

    He said to make more films between India and Pakistan. "We need to find these types of common topics more to satisfy audiences on both the sides".

    The first edition of the BRICS Film Festival will come to an end on Tuesday.
    Been wondering what's been happening with this project. Looking forward to it.
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    China and India are coming together

    Thithi’ wins Best Film honour at 1st BRICS Film Festival

    POSTED BY: GOPI SEPTEMBER 6, 2016


    New Delhi: Union Minister for Urban Development, Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation and Information & Broadcasting M Venkaiah Naidu at the closing ceremony of the First BRICS Film Festival in New Delhi on Sept 6, 2016. (Photo: IANS)

    New Delhi, Sep 6 (IANS) Raam Reddy's Kannada film "Thithi" was conferred the Best Film award by Union MInformation and Broadcasting Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu at the closing ceremony of the 1st BRICS Film Festival here on Tuesday.

    "Thithi", which earlier won various honours at 68th Locarno International Film Festival, Marrakech International Film Festival, 19th Shanghai International Film Festival and 63rd National Film Awards, is a dramatic comedy about how three generations of sons react to the death of the oldest in their clan, a man named Century Gowda -- a locally renowned, highly cantankerous 101-year-old man.

    South African actor Thabo Rametsi won the Best Actor (Male) award for his role in "Kalushi", Russian actress Yulia Peresild was given the Best Actor (Female) honour for her film "The Battle for Sevastopol" and Chinese director Huo Jianqi was announced as the Best Director for helming Indo-Chinese co-production film "Xuan Zang".

    Meanwhile, a Special Jury award was given to Phillipe Barcinski for Brazilian film "Between Valleys", and Special Mention was given to "Songs of the Phoenix" from China and "14+" of Russia.

    Speaking at the closing ceremony, Naidu said: "I would like to congratulate all the recepients of the awards. It's a proud moment for us to have them between us today. Also I would like to thank all the delegates for contributing to this festival and making it a huge success."

    He said that cinema "transcends national boundaries" by touching the hearts of millions of people globally.

    "It has the best influence on the minds of people. It's the most powerful tool to communicate. It plays a pivotal role in creating public opinions on social issues. Cinema should not only be entertaining, it should also be enlightening," added Naidu, who was joined by Union Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore and Directorate of Film Festivals chief Senthil Rajan, among others at the event.

    Kickstarted on September 2, the festival, which is a part of the special events planned in run-up to the 8th BRICS Summit being held in India, took place at Siri Fort Auditorium Complex here.

    The closing ceremony of the festival featured some power-packed performances by Shiamak Davar Dance Company from India and the Chengdu Performing Arts Theatre from China.

    The festival featured 20 films in the competition section which focussed on a variety of issues and themes ranging from discrimination, love, history and relevant social challenges being faced by BRICS countries - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

    The jury of the festival included journalist, producer and curator of film shows Francis Vogner do Reis from Brazil, Academic Secretary of the National Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences of Russia Kirill Razlogov, Professor Hou Keming from Beijing Film Academy, China, member of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Xoliswa Sithole from South Africa, and Indian writer, director and actor T.S. Nagabharana.

    Post the closing ceremony Chinese star Jackie Chan's film "Skiptrace" was screened.

    The next edition of the BRICS Film Festival will take place in Chengdu, China.
    Wonder how Skiptrace plays to an Indian audience.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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  8. #8
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    three is a charm?



    Oscars: China Selects 'Xuan Zang' for Foreign-Language Category
    1:23 AM PDT 10/5/2016 by Abid Rahman


    'Xuanzang'

    Directed by Huo Jianqi and produced by Academy favorite Wong Kar-wai, the film depicts the legendary and epic seventh-century journey of a Buddhist monk from China to India.
    China has selected historical epic Xuan Zang as its contender in the best foreign-language category at the 89th Academy Awards.

    The film, directed by Huo Jianqi, depicts the legendary seventh-century spiritual journey of Buddhist monk Xuanzang from China to India. Huang Xiaoming plays the monk who took 17 years to complete his journey.

    Despite critical favor, Xuan Zang made only $5 million at the Chinese box office.

    Produced by Wong Kar-wai, Xuan Zang is notable as the first major China-India co-production. China Film Corporation and India's Eros International are the main producers behind the film.

    The story of Xuanzang has been a popular one for Chinese cinema in recent years, being the basis, although with a fantastical bent, of The Monkey King franchise, comedy Journey to the West and the animated hit Monkey King: Hero Is Back.

    China has been nominated twice in the best foreign-language film category at the Oscars, but it has never won.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
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  9. #9
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    Huo Jianqi interview

    CFI Interview: Huo Jianqi, Director of ‘Xuan Zang,’ China’s Foreign Language Oscar Nominee
    By Fergus Ryan|October 5th, 2016

    China has nominated Xuanzang as its choice for the Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award.
    Bollywood soundtrack entertains Indian and Chinese presidents at Beijing dinner
    Pranab Mukherjee and Xi Jinping tout film co-productions for political understanding



    China announced that it has chosen Xuanzang, the story of the monk who brought Buddhism to China and the basis for the popular Monkey King story, as its selection for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. In May, China Film Insider China correspondent Fergus Ryan interviewed director Huo Jianqi about the film. In light of the nomination, we present the interview again here. — Eds.

    Sino-Indian co-production Xuanzang tells of the spread of Buddhism to China from India.

    When Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi met with President Xi Jinping in May last year, the two leaders inked an agreement that they hoped would kickstart a new filmmaking relationship between the two Asian giants.

    Now, a year later, Pranab Mukherjee, president of the world’s largest democracy, is on a four-day official visit to China, which is ruled by the Communist Party, reiterated that more filmmaking cooperation between India and China, could lead to better “political understanding.”

    “In a digital age, joint film productions could be useful instruments for creating positive perceptions among our people,” President Mukherjee said in Beijing on Friday.

    Music from Indian director Raj Kapoor’s Awara, and other Bollywood hits with an older following in China, played in the background as Presidents Mukherjee and Xi dined together, according to reports.

    For some Chinese in President Xi’s generation, select Indian films from the 1950s and -60s provided a colorful alternative to staid Communist propaganda films.

    Following Xi’s agreement with Modi last year, three Sino-Indian co-productions have gotten going, including Kung Fu Yoga starring Jackie Chan, Buddies In India (大闹天竺), starring star comic Wang Baoqiang of Lost in Thailand fame.

    It’s easy to see why the first film made off the back of the agreement was Xuanzang, an epic charting the eponymous 7th century Chinese monk’s overland journey to India.

    The famed monk played a crucial role in spreading Buddhism throughout Asia after he returned to Tang Dynasty China with hundreds of Buddhist texts that were then translated from Sanskrit into Chinese.

    Xuanzang is best-known in China because of the classic Journey to the West, a 16th century novel based on his voyages that has been made into countless television series and feature films.

    The narrative also neatly ticks a number of political boxes for both China and India. The film’s director, Huo Jianqi, is matter-of-fact about how he became involved in the project.

    “A lot of commercial films based on Journey to the West have been made recently because of the ‘One Belt One Road’ concept” Huo told China Film Insider, referring to Xi’s initiative to revive business along ancient Silk Road trade routes. “For Xuanzang, we wanted to present something a little less commercial for the audience.”

    Huo allowed: “I’m part of China Film Group’s team, and we’re a state-run organization. They asked me to do it. That’s how it started.”

    The fifth-generation director is best known for his 1999 film Postmen in the Mountains, winner of the Special Jury Award at the International Film Festival of India in New Delhi in 2000.

    Though not a Buddhist himself, Huo said he finds the story fascinating and was interested in untangling the Xuanzang character depicted in Journey to the West from the real-life historical figure.

    The meandering script, which follows Xuanzang’s 19-year journey over 30,000 miles, was written by Zou Jingzhi, who also wrote the screenplay for director Zhang Yimou’s critically acclaimed Coming Home, starring actress Gong Li.

    The film was made over a year, shooting exteriors in the heat of India and China’s far West, in Xinjiang and Gansu, and interiors at the giant sound stages at Hengdian outside Shanghai and Huairou near Beijing.

    “Forget about how hard it was for Xuanzang 1,300 years ago,” Huo said about the difficulty of filming in Xinjiang’s Taklamakan desert. “It’s still incredibly difficult to travel that road today. The natural environment out there is harsh, with a very cold winter, extremely hot summer. Xuanzang’s difficulty was our difficulty.”

    While language barriers and a bout of food poisoning threw up some obstacles for Huo, the director said he was impressed by the professionalism of the Indian crew and actors provided by co-production partner Eros International.

    Xuanzang was made in Chinese and released simultaneously in both the countries on April 29, with the Indian version dubbed into Hindi. Though the film struggled at the box office, Hou says that was never his concern.

    “We didn’t make the film in order to make money,” Hou said. “We wanted to bring to life a piece of history that shared by both our countries.

    —Additional reporting by Chet Leung.


    About the Author: Fergus Ryan
    Fergus Ryan has worked in media, communications and marketing roles in China and Australia for close to a decade. Most recently, Fergus was a journalist for the News Corp. publications China Spectator and The Australian. He has also been published in The Guardian and Foreign Policy. Prior to that, Fergus worked on business development for the A-list star Li Bingbing at Huayi Brothers, and on celebrity engagement and social media for the WWF and DMG Entertainment.
    I'm really curious about a U.S. release of this film.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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  10. #10
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    Sonu is excited

    From Sonu Sood's tweet:


    sonu sood ‏@SonuSood 9h9 hours ago
    "Xuanzang" an official entry to oscars. 🙏🏻🙏🏻fingers crossed
    0 replies 40 retweets 187 likes
    Reply Retweet 40
    Like 187
    More
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
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  11. #11
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    Will Xuanzang make the Oscar cut?

    If Hollywood really wants to pander to China it will...I mean, come on. Skiptrace?

    China's Oscar Selection 'Xuanzang' Wins Big at Inaugural Golden Screen Awards
    6:43 PM PDT 11/4/2016 by Valerie Zhou


    John Li
    Rob Schneider

    The ceremony, presented by the U.S.-China Film & TV Industry Expo, honored the period epic in five categories, including best co-production.
    The inaugural Golden Screen Awards, which specifically focuses on co-productions between the U.S. and China, took place Thursday at L.A. Live. Held by the U.S.-China Film & TV Industry Expo in partnership with the Motion Picture Association (MPA), China Film Co-Production Corporation and The Hollywood Reporter, Xuanzang was the biggest winner, receiving best co-production film, director, cinematography, actor and production design honors.

    The film, which depicts the perilous journey of the legendary Chinese monk who brought Buddhism from India to China, is the latter country's official Academy Award foreign-language submission this year. “This is a great opportunity for us," said director Huo Jianqi, "but I don’t think too much about the result, as long as this film can spread the spirit of Xuanzang.”

    Paula Patton, who starred in the U.S.-China co-production film Warcraft, attended the ceremony, which was hosted by Rob Schneider.

    “It’s great to be in Hollywood, the entertainment capital of the world. Hollywood is proud to be an equal-opportunity spender of other people’s money,” joked Schneider in his edgy remarks. “First we took money from Germany, then from France. Then we raped Japan pretty good. Now we are delighted to take China. Bend them over, for as much money as we could steal from them.”

    Other films receiving awards included Three, Mountain Cry, Skiptrace and Kung Fu Panda 3.

    A complete list of winners follows:

    Best Co-Production Film

    Da Tang Xuan Zang

    Best Director

    Huo Jianqi (Da Tang Xuan Zang)

    Best Screenplay

    Yau Nai Hoi / Lau HoLeung / Mark Tinshu (Three)

    Best Cinematography

    Su Ming (Da Tang Xuan Zang)

    Best Actor

    Huang Xiaoming (Da Tang Xuan Zang)

    Best Actress

    Lang Yueting (Mountain Cry)

    Best Supporting Actor

    Eric Tsang (Skiptrace)

    Best Supporting Actress

    Fan Bingbing (Skiptrace)

    Best Production Design

    Wu Ming (Da Tang Xuan Zang)

    Best Animation

    Kung Fu Panda 3
    First Forum Review

    It's no Jesus Christ Superstar, that's for sure.

    At 2 hours, it's ponderously long and rather uneventful. Sure he faces some trials and tribulations, all the while proselytizing Buddhism. It explains the basic tenets and offers some classic parables, but none of his obstacles seem that challenging because we know he will prevail so there's no emotional tension. And some parts are just dumb. Like how can you keep a horse hydrated in the desert with only handfuls of water? And who puts an elephant on a small boat with sketchy rowers? And that wasn't a patchwork robe, just a little tattered, so the whole farm field parable was lost. Oh, and it has a really dumb beginning where an Indian student looks up a book, and that segues to the author of the book saying he followed Xuanzang's path based on Journey to the West, then the movie starts and thankfully never goes back to that.

    However, where it does shine is location. It's filmed in many sacred Buddhist temples and many incredible desolate panoramic landscapes. That part is gorgeous. Towards the middle, I gave up trying to enjoy this as a movie and reconceived it as Buddhist postcards - gentle reminders of the practice set in spectacular settings. That way, it kinda worked for me. It was good to see Bodhgaya again, even if it was a CGI interpretation on how it might have looked back then.

    There is a sword fight. It's early on, completely irrelevant, and mediocre, but it is a sword fight. There are bollywood dance numbers although not in the traditional sense, more as color to various ceremonies. The costuming is lovely.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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  12. #12
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    Xuan zang (2016)

    GREAT MOVIE
    XUAN ZANG: Chinese entry for the Best Foreign Language Film|Huang Xiaoming, Xu Zheng 大唐玄奘
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xuanzang_(film)



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    "色即是空 , 空即是色 " ~ Buddha via Avalokitesvara
    Shaolin Meditator

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