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China Film
Jan 2, 2020

Huayi Brothers Movie World  

Huayi Brothers Movie World opened July 2018 in Suzhou, China, after six years of construction and at a cost of over $50 million. Like Disneyland or Universal Studios, the sprawling theme park is based around the company’s most popular films, such as the Detective Dee series. The park includes five major themed areas, including a Tang Dynasty palace and a Civil War-era courtyard complex, along with merchandise shops at every corner. One of the highlights is a live action show where the audience can watch how action on the stage is transformed, through multiple cameras and live editing, into a […]

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China Film
Dec 31, 2019

Zhongshan Movie & Television Town  

Zhongshan Movie & Television Town is located in Guangdong Province next door to the childhood home of Sun Yat-sen, first President of the Republic of China. The town is based around landmarks from Sun’s life and travels, including a London police office, an English church, the San Francisco Chinese Expats Club, and the family’s residence in New York. It was created by the local government for the shooting of a 2001 biographical TV drama. It continues to be used today for period TV series and films.

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China Film
Dec 27, 2019

China Film Group State Production Base  

The China Film Group Corporation is the largest state-owned film production and distribution company in China. It is the only official importer of foreign films to China and has had a hand in numerous large scale co-productions bringing foreign stars to China, including Matt Damon in The Great Wall and Keanu Reeves in Man of Tai Chi. The production base in Yangsong Town, Huairou, outside Beijing, includes state-of-the-art digital production facilities, sixteen sound stages, equipment and props warehouses, and large outdoor studio lots. On any given day you might see a busy 20th century street scene, a martial arts fight, […]

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China Film
Dec 26, 2019

African Streets outside Beijing  

One of the newest additions to China Film Group lot outside Bejing is a North African streetscape built for megahit action film Wolf Warrior II (战狼2). In the 2017 film, a former elite special ops soldier saves a group of Chinese nationals caught up in a rebel attack in an unnamed African country. The film is one of a series of recent releases that highlight contemporary China’s global reach. As Evan Osnos wrote in The New Yorker, “Wolf Warrior II captures a new, muscular iteration of China’s self-narrative, much as Rambo’s heroics expressed the swagger of the Reagan era.” It […]

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China Film
Dec 25, 2019

The Beijing Film Studio  

While little actual film production takes place in Beijing these days, the capital area remains an important center for the film industry, home to the Beijing Film School, the China Film Archive, the National Film Museum, and the central government’s film and television administration. The old Beijing Film Studio in central Beijing, now largely abandoned, was used for classic films such as The Last Emperor (1987) and Farewell, My Concubine (1993). The remaining warehouses and back lot have been slated for demolition. I visited last year to photograph the surviving set pieces, a few small clusters of traditional wooden shops […]

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China Film
Nov 29, 2019

New Photobook: Once Upon a Time in Shanghai now available from Daylight Books!  

My latest photobook, Once Upon a Time in Shanghai (Daylight Books, 2019), documents the movie industry in mainland China. The book is now available for order from the publisher Daylight Books. You can also find it at Politics and Prose bookstore in Washington DC. Or ask your local bookstore to order it!

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China Film / Press
Nov 29, 2019

Press for ‘Once Upon a Time in Shanghai’  

My new photobook ‘Once Upon a Time in Shanghai’ has already been generating some media buzz. Here are a few links interviews and stories about the book: Bloomberg: Behind the Scenes of China’s Multibillion-Dollar Film Studios Wired: China’s Sprawling Movie Sets Put Hollywood to Shame New York Times: These Books Take You to a Wild Place It’s Nice That: Mark Parascandola documents the scenery and sets of China’s booming film industry SupChina News: ‘The Ambiguity Between Truth And Fiction’ Interview Radii.China: Photographing Behind the Scenes of the Chinese Film Industry Daily Mail: The mega Chinese film studios that put Hollywood to […]

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China Film / Latest News
Nov 29, 2019

New Photobook: Once Upon a Time in Shanghai available now from Daylight Books!  

My latest photobook, Once Upon a Time in Shanghai (Daylight Books, 2019), documents the movie industry in mainland China. The book is now available for order from the publisher Daylight Books. You can also find it at Politics and Prose bookstore in Washington DC. Or ask your local bookstore to order it!

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Remembering Joe Strummer  

Joe Strummer died sixteen years ago, on December 22, 2002. He had a life-long love for Spain, and particularly Almería. He traveled around Andalucía, became obsessed with Federico García Lorca, spent many hours in bars around Granada, and eventually bought a house in the village of San José on the coast of Almería. The Bar de Jo, along the coast at Los Escullos, paid homage to Strummer every summer, but was sadly shuttered this year. The 2011 documentary Quiero tener una ferretería en Andalucía (“I Want to Have a Hardware Store in Andalucía”–he loved hanging out at the local hardware […]

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50 Years Ago Today in Rome ….  

50 years ago today, on December 20, 1968, Sergio Leone’s ‘Once Upon a Time in the West’ was released in Rome. The film used multiple locations in southeastern Spain, constructing the town of Flagstone was along the train tracks near Guadix and McBain’s Sweetwater Ranch in the Tabernas desert. The log cabin ranch house is now the centerpiece of ‘Western Leone‘, one of three film sets turned tourist attractions. In contrast, little remains of Flagstone except for a few brick structures now partially incorporated into an adjacent chicken farm.

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