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Zhu signs Franco-Chinese deal

Deal is one of the first official accords to come together since France and China signed a co-production treaty last year.

Paris-based filmmaker Xiaoling Zhu has sealed a Franco-Chinese co-production deal for her next picture The Yu Family about a girl who runs away to the circus in Inner Mongolia.

Franco-Zhu’s debut film The Rice Paddy, about a peasant family struggling to make ends meet, screened in Berlin’s Culinary Cinema section this year.

Zhu’s French production company Orient Studio, has signed an accord with private Chinese private entertainment company Hoper Media and the state-backed Inner Mongolia Film Studio.

The deal is one of the first official deals to come together since France and China signed a co-production treaty last year.

Zhu met Hoper Media’s general manager Tim and the executives from Inner Mongolia Film Studio at a co-production meeting organised by Film France during Cannes in 2012.

The French state body, promoting the country as a shooting location, staged the event for a second time running this Cannes.

China-based projects included Pitof’s previously announced €13.5m, Beijing-set family adventure The Dragon Angel, produced by Beijing-based Igor Darbo; and Zhang Jairui’s The Ballet in the Forbidden City, about a Paris-raised, Chinese girl who introduces classical ballet to China at the turn of the 20th century.

French productions seeking a Chinese partner included Denis Malleval’s €4m jail-set thriller In/Out, being produced by Marie Gutmann’ Méroé Films, to which Francois Morel and Emilie Dequenne.

Paris-based Futurikon also presented Jill Coulon’s upcoming documentary Chinese Tourists on a Bus about a group of tourists on a pan-European coach tour of five countries in 10 days.

Coulon’s debut feature documentary A Normal Life, Chronicle of a Sumo Wrestler screened at IDFA in 2009.

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