Brilliant, Bold, Born in China

Brilliant, Bold, Born in China

7th March 2017

NHN were luckily enough to be invited to the UK Premiere of Born in China; a co-production between Brian Leith Productions (Bristol) and Chuan Films (Beijing) for Disneynature.

Born in China follows the lives of five main characters over the course of a year. It's a beautifully crafted film - bold in it's ambition, which certainly delivers moving stories that engage and challenge the audience. 

This brave story-telling was attributed to the relationship between the two co-production companies, which on the one hand was a challenge, with cultural and work-style differences to overcome, but also a blessing in that the two teams were able to push for a powerful ending by pursuing the story of the circularity of life that is so much part of Chinese culture and belief.

Born in China was conceived in 2013, with the teams starting filming in the Spring/Summer of 2014. It was first released in China in August 2016 and very successfully received. The film will be followed by a US release on Earth Day next month – April 21st 2017. Sadly as with all the earlier Disneynature films, there are no plans for a UK release. However, it will be distributed within Europe and other territories. 

This is the first time that many of the Bristol based team who were involved in the making of Born in China had seen the completed film with its narration by comedy actor John Krasinski.

Mandy Leith, on behalf of  her co-directors Phil Chapman and Brian Leith, were keen to offer great credit and thanks to their Bristol-based team involved in the making of this epic story; firstly to their Production Manager Linda Stephens, co-ordinators Lisa Connaire, Ryan Evans and Emily Sleath, also to Post Production/Workflow Supervisor Richard Lanciault and his edit assistant Sean Pearce.  Thanks also to DoPs Shane Moore for the snow leopards, Paul Stewart for pandas and cranes, Justine Maguire for golden snub-nosed monkeys and scenic, and Rolf Steinmann for Chiru Antelope on the Qinghai Plateau, and additional photography from Jackie Poon. Editor Matt Meech with additional editing back up towards the end of the edit from Jimmy Taggert and Steve Barnes who also edited some of the behind-the-scenes films. Praise was given to Field Directors Ben Wallis for pandas, snow leopards and aerials, Emma Fraser for her exhaustive research in the development and pre-production phase with researcher and field assistant Alec Ginns and Jess Tombs who directed the monkey sequences and Ed Anderson for early snow leopard recce. Logistics Manager Steven Ballantyne and Production Accountants Tessa Keirnan and Sarah Rossiter.

Thanks also went to Production Asssistant Alex Davies-Walsh for looking after the team and putting up with Brian and Mandy (!), and Line Producer Mitch Turnbull who worked with the DoP’s in the early stages of pre-production/production on camera formats and kit which brought the beautiful images we saw yesterday to the screen. 

Mandy also praised the sound team;  Kate Hopkins, Tim Owens and the team from Wounded Buffalo and design and re-recording mixer Andrew Wilson as well as as the wonderful music score by composer Barnaby Taylor. Mandy credited their team for working so brilliantly with their Chinese counterparts. It was because of the trust that built up between these two production companies that such an ambitious film was able to be made.

I would encourage anyone to watch Born in China, so keep checking back with the NHN website to find out about any future release dates.  It will be screened at Jackson Hole 2017 and Wildscreen 2018. 

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