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Sets to become the star attraction among period drama fans

By Xu Lin | China Daily | Updated: 2019-07-25 08:46
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The popularity of period dramas has drawn visitors to the City of Tang located at the Xiangshan Movie and Television City in Xiangshan county, Zhejiang province.[Photo provided to China Daily]

Hit online thriller The Longest Day in Chang'an has overwhelmed audiences, not just with its gripping storyline, but through the beauty of its depiction of Chang'an - mainly because of the show's spectacular opening scene.

Known today as Xi'an, Shaanxi province, Chang'an was the nation's capital during the Tang Dynasty (618-907).

The replica of the ancient city, which has moved audiences with its authenticity, is a film set named the City of Tang and is located at the Xiangshan Movie and Television City in Zhejiang province. It faithfully recreates the symmetrical layout of Chang'an and demonstrates typical Tang Dynasty-style architecture.

The production company behind the TV series consulted historical records, such as maps of Chang'an during the design process, before investing 50 million yuan ($ 7.3 million) in the construction of the site in the county of Xiangshan.

The popularity of The Longest Day in Chang'an has also aroused public interest in the set itself, and many fans have traveled to Xiangshan Movie and Television City to visit the on-screen version of Chang'an in person.

This seems to be a regular occurrence for the studio, as the sets of other popular period shows, such as 2015's Nirvana in Fire and 2017's Eternal Love in 2017, have also proved to be a big draw for fans.

The studio's sets cover many of China's dynasties, spanning the Spring and Autumn Period (770-476 BC) all the way through to the 1930s.

These locations have welcomed over 1,200 film and television crews to date, including 162 crews in 2018.

Tourists, however, see them as a destination to visit and perhaps meet - or at least catch a glimpse of - their favorite stars.

Last year, tourist visits to the studio's various sites totaled 2.8 million, an increase of 25 percent over 2017, generating a revenue of 120 million yuan.

"These popular TV series and movies have become our best advertisement to attract tourists," says Chen Jianyu, director of the Ningbo Industrial Zone Management Committee of Film Culture, which is in charge of the studio.

"It also draws more interest from film and television crews," Chen adds, noting that industry insiders will be more familiar with the studio, such as their facilities and services, as a result of the shows.

"Many crews keep coming back because they love our great setting, fresh air and delicious food."

He attributes the studio's success to the official support of the local government and their professional management team.

"Our aim is to build an international movie and television studio. To offer a better environment for film and TV crews, their sets are categorized into two groups. While some only serve purely as sets, such as the City of Tang, others are areas that are mainly open to travelers, and are sometimes used for filming," he says.

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