Crew completes filming in Antarctica

By Xu Fan ( China Daily ) Updated: 2015-12-10 08:33:43

Crew completes filming in Antarctica

Mark Chao stars in the upcoming movie Till the End of the World, shot in Antarctica. [Photo provided to China Daily]

An upcoming romantic film, the first homegrown fictional feature shot in Antarctica, recently concluded its shoot in the world's coldest continent.

Till the End of the World, adapted from the director Wu Youyin's novel of the same name, centers on the adventure of an arrogant millionaire and a self-contained female scientist. They find love while they are caught in a snow storm for 75 days.

The feature-length movie is set to be released in 2017.

After the 28-day shoot in tough weather conditions, the 40-member crew, including lead actor Mark Chao, returned to China in early December.

Speaking of the experience at a media briefing in Beijing on Monday, Wu says: "One of the biggest challenges was that there was only one chance to shoot each scene in the snow-covered landmass.

"The snowy landscape is easily changed due to human activity. So we had to rehearse the scenes in our minds before the shooting every day."

Producer Cao Xin says that the strong sunlight-95 percent of which is reflected by the ice in Antarctica-was another problem. Seven members, including the Chinese-Canadian star Chao, suffered eye problems on one particular night.

Speaking of the trauma, Chao, 31, says: "My character does not wear protective sunglasses. So one day after prolonged exposure to the sun, I felt my eyes aching and vision blurring. It was scary."

(Chao has recently been in the spotlight for his lead role in sci-fi thriller Chronicles of the Ghostly Tribe.)

One of the more memorable moments for Chao was when he encountered a group of penguins.

Recalling the experience, he says: "It was not part of the script. But I told myself I should grab this precious opportunity."

In the footage shown at the media conference, Chao kneels in snow to mimic the penguins and pretends to talk to them.

Actress Yang Zishan, better known for last year's smash hit Miss Granny, stars as the female scientist.

Yang says that she did not travel to Antarctica, and her scenes-mostly indoor ones-will be shot on sound stages.

The special effects will be done by a South Korean company.

For the 37-year-old Wu, Till the End of the World is his third directorial venture.

He traveled to Antarctica as a member of China's 27th and 28th Antarctic expeditions in 2011 and 2012.

Based on his Antarctic tours, his novel was published in 2014 and gained acclaim from Chinese polar scientists.

China's popular review site,, scores the book at 7.7 points out of 10.

When reports first appeared earlier this year of plans to shoot a fictional feature in Antarctica, it sparked a controversy as some Chinese environmentalists were concerned that the shooting could harm the natural environment.

But Wu says: "All the members of the Antarctic film crew were trained by guides from the Polar Research Institute of China."

The crew even carried plastic bags where there was no easy access to toilets.

"We left only footprints on the pure landmass," says the director.

The crew began the second phase of the shooting on a sound stage on Tuesday.

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