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Docuseries 'Century Masters' to premiere on iQiyi

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2020-01-22 12:00
The international version of documentary series Century Masters is to release its first season on streaming site iQiyi on Jan 23, 2020. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

To mix the modern Chinese cultural landscape with an international perspective, documentary series Century Masters is scheduled to release the first season of its international version on streaming site iQiyi on Jan 23.

The series honors the life stories of 10 significant cultural figures from the 20th century: Zhang Daqian, Mei Lanfang, Liu Haisu, Lu Xun, Xu Beihong, Cheng Yanqiu, Lin Fengmian, Jiao Juyin, Liu Tianhua and Sha Menghai. Each episode, around 52 minutes long, will be available for global viewership in eight languages, including English, Spanish, Arabic, Russian and French.

It is one of the productions of The Sight and Sound of China – a project spearheaded by the Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China and the State Council Information Office.

The world-class creative team consists of Nobel laureate Mo Yan as chief scriptwriter and Bill Einreinhofer, three-time Emmy Award-winning producer, as narrator and host.

Bill Einreinhofer, three-time Emmy Award-winning producer, director and writer, arrives in Beijing to film the international version of documentary series Century Masters on Sept 7, 2018. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

Starting in 2017, Einreinhofer arrived at the Beijing Yingu Art Museum and commenced filming the episodes in that space. Having traveled all over China over the past 25 years, the filmmaker wishes to show foreign viewers "Chinese people are just like us."

"I want them to know it is these people who changed the Chinese culture, and in their own ways revolutionized society. I also want people to know they were people like us; they all got up in the morning to go to work. If their children were sick, it was going to be a tough day. I want the China story to be out there, to be understood and appreciated by the society, the people and the culture," he said to China Daily website in a previous interview.

Apart from in-studio filming, the program is also shot in the artists' former residences, art galleries, Beijing Opera theaters and museums to present the audience with an immersive cultural and artistic experience.

"If you have compelling characters, you can draw people in. Once you've drawn them in, you can start to learn the finer parts of the story. From one person, you start to learn China from different aspects of history, of culture and society. That I think it's a lot less scary, a lot less confusing than 5,000 years of history," he said.

The international version of the docuseries Century Masters will be shown on iQiyi with membership required on Jan 23, right before Chinese New Year's Eve.

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