How Chinese TV is making its way to Sub-Saharan Africa

Liu Tao and Qiao Xin at an audience meeting of Ode to Joy in Tanzania

As Tencent is making its way to Thailand and iQiyi partners with Malaysia, another group of Chinese media firms have already settled in Africa. Since 2007, Beijing-based media company Star Times  has established itself in over 30 African countries with 26 million users. The company is also working with Chinese and African governments to provide tv access to underserved rural communities in twenty-five African countries.   The company offers two channels featuring Chinese dramas – SinoDrama and Star Times Kung Fu.  Star Times have has also held competitions to bring African acting talents to its Beijing Campus to translate and dub everything from Latin American telenovelas to Thai dramas into English, French, Portuguese, Swahili, Hausa, Zulu, Yoruba and Luganda.

Over the past month, the heads of Daylight Entertainment (Nirvana in Fire, Ode to Joy) and Linmon Entertainment (A Little Separation, Hunting) and the cast of Ode to Joy attended events in Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania as a part of the Chinese-African audio-video exchange to discuss further collaboration between Chinese and African media companies.

Their visit follows the filming of the first Chinese drama made in collaboration with the Kenyan government last month, Wang Kai and Wang Ou’s upcoming crime thriller Hunting.

Hunting ‘s Kenyan special. The series is the first drama collaboration with the Kenyan government.
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Song Yiren, Gong Jun switch tastes in Flavour It’s Yours

This poster makes me ship them already.

When chef Lu Weixun (Gong Jun) and He Buzui (Song Yiren) accidentally switch their sense of taste – that is, they can only taste what the other one tastes. Even worse, He Buzui was born without a sense of taste. To save his career, Lu Weixun takes He Buzui on a series of flavourful adventures to help her regain her and therefore his sense of taste.

Song Yiren and Gong Jun’s new drama, Flavour It’s Yours 看见味道的你 (formerly called 与其微醺何不醉, has released a set of promotional posters and first MV’s. I don’t know the rest of the cast other than Song Yiren but the promos for the drama have been pretty cute so far and Song Yiren’s always adorable. The drama is set to air on November 7 on iQiyi, so it’ll probably be available with English subs on the app.

OP

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Chen Kaige directs original Peking Opera-themed short

Farewell, My Concubine takes center stage once more in a Chen Kaige film as a group of young actors face difficult choices before a scheduled performance of the classic piece.

Director Chen Kaige (Farewell My Concubine, Forever Enthralled) returns to the Peking Opera troupe for inspirations in this stylized short film directed and written by him for variety show Attention Actors 演员请就位. Zhao Wenhao (Sacrifice) puts on imo the best performance of the show as a disgruntled former actor who fulfills his dream of acting as the hero Xiang Yu on stage by channeling him in real life to protect his beloved. The film co-stars Huang Yao (The Crossing) and Yu Xiaotong (Dream of the Red Chambers).

Watch the skit on Youtube below (should start at 2:03:43):

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