The future of filmmaking?

Kung Fu Panda w

Back in 2012 WiC reported on a remark made by Cameron Bailey, the artistic director of the Toronto Film Festival. Referring to the status of the film Looper as a Sino-US co-production, he said: “It’s not that common yet, but this is the future of filmmaking.”

That was a pretty astute remark. Not only have such co-productions bloomed over the last few years, but one of the most innovative yet is set to arrive later this month courtesy of Dreamworks and China Media Corp (CMC).

During Xi Jinping’s trip to the US last year the two media firms signed a deal to create the Shanghai-based joint venture Oriental Dreamworks – its first major offering being the third instalment of the Kungfu Panda franchise.

And this time there will be a twist for Chinese audiences: two versions of the movie. One will be in Mandarin – featuring the voices of local stars like Jackie Chan – and the other in English – featuring actors like Jack Black. Moreover, the animators in China have drawn the characters slightly differently to capture differences in Chinese body language, and rejigged the script for moments when the English phrases didn’t translate well.

In effect, it is a bespoke version just for China.

Dreamworks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg told The Times of the UK: “It’s the first time in history in which an animated movie has actually been produced in two languages. The Mandarin version of the film is actually unique, in that they really have done an adaptation because there’s been [fresh] writing, there is the same level of improvisation and the vernacular is very, very much Chinese.”

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