Chinese streaming platform iQiyi is partnering with leading Chinese filmmaker Chen Kaige on his first foray into online drama, The Eight.
Set in both Paris and China during the early Republican era, the series tells the story of a young Chinese man who is drawn into the criminal underworld while fighting for China’s independence against a variety of hostile forces.
Chen will also serve as executive producer on the series, responsible for the script and involved in every aspect of the production from casting to editing and cinematography.
“The rise of premium internet dramas has opened up a huge space for creative innovation,” said Chen. “With this freedom, directors can now approach storytelling from many different dimensions and create deeper, more richly drawn characters.”
Chen most recently directed China-Japan co-production The Legend Of The Demon Cat and also has credits including Farewell, My Concubine, The Emperor And The Assassin and Forever Enthralled.
His involvement in online drama highlights the growing appeal of the format for Chinese filmmakers. iQiyi has also worked with Han Sanping and Chen Guofu to produce critically-acclaimed hit dramas Burning Ice and Tientsin Mystic, which were acquired by Netflix.