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Aliens on the big screen

By Xu Fan | China Daily | Updated: 2017-09-21 08:00

Aliens on the big screen

The recent lineup of Tencent Pictures features four new sci-fi movies, which are either set in China or feature Chinese heroes. [Photo provided to China Daily] 

But new director Zhang Xiaobei is more forthcoming about his maiden feature Pathfinder.

The film, shot in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region and Beijing, recently concluded filming and will be released in 2018.

He says the film is based on a popular animated series with the same title, and is about a group of Chinese stranded on a vast desert on a remote planet.

Zhang, who is a diehard scifi fan and a Star Wars lover, says Chinese sci-fi movies have the potential to attract local audiences with emotional and cultural pegs.

Speaking about his experiences while making the movie, he says: "We tried many things. And these things will help the development of China's sci-fi film industry."

As for other domestic sci-fi movies in the pipeline, there is Crazy Alien, which is about a zoo employee who accidentally takes home an alien animal. The director, Ning Hao, began working on the film last month.

As for the current state of the Chinese sci-fi movie sector, the enthusiasm that was sparked in 2015 when Liu Cixin became the first Chinese author to win the prestigious Hugo Award for science fiction has died down.

Then, many Chinese industry watchers were excited and had predicted China would see a lot of domestic sci-fi movies being made. But until the recent revival, only a few sci-fi movies financed by Chinese studios were released.

There were comedies with sci-fi elements, such as Wang Baoqiang's Impossible (2015) and Louis Koo's Meow (2017), and the recent thriller Reset, but not much else.

Commenting on the situation, Si Ruo, a scholar with Communication University of China, says: "Most Chinese filmmakers have limited experience of making sci-fi films. The genre will need time to take off in China."

Contact the writer at xufan@chinadaily.com.cn

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