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Beijing Juben Productions has taken over rights to the popular “Wolf Totem” novel from China Film Group and is working on a sequel to be delivered in 2021 or Chinese New Year 2022. It also has a zombie film up its sleeve, as well as a British co-production about Shakespeare and a Chinese drama with half an eye on Cannes.
The firm, whose Mandarin name “Juben” translates to “script,” was founded by producer Luna Wang in 2013 and employs a team of ten. It focuses on artistic films with mainstream commercial potential and has mostly worked with early-career directors.
Projects - Comedy - Dreams - China - Peter
One of its first projects was 2013 comedy “American Dreams in China,” by Peter Chan Ho-sun who is this week head of the competition jury at the International Film Festival Macao.
Juben went on to back “12 Citizens,” a 2014 Chinese remake of “12 Angry Men,” and last year’s “Ayka,” which was shortlisted for the Oscars as Kazahkstan’s entry to the race and screened in the main competition at Cannes, winning best actress.
Relationships - Russia - Kazakhstan - Ayka - Juben
The relationships forged with Russia and Kazakhstan in “Ayka” have led Juben to turn more towards that part of the world than the U.S. or Europe for its biggest project yet, a $28 million sequel to 2015’s “Wolf Totem,” which grossed $110 million.
“There’s a cultural closeness between China and the Silk Road countries,” said Wang. France will remain a presence, however, through Wild Bunch, which is also involved. Cannes best actress-winning Samal Yeslyamova (“Ayka”) will act, and Aisholpan Nurgaiv, the Kazakh Mongolian girl subject of the documentary “The Eagle Huntress,” has also been approached to participate.
Film - Characters - Film - Book - Idea
The film will feature some of the same characters from the previous film and book. The idea is to make the movie more approachable to a youthful audience and emphasize the nature survival angle, centering on...
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