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Silver screen's ethnic sheen

By Xu Fan | China Daily | Updated: 2014-10-30 06:54

Silver screen's ethnic sheen

A scene from the Sino-French production The Nightingale, which portrays the Dong ethnicity's lives and customs. Photo provided to China Daily.

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International interest in films about non-Han Chinese may prove to be the solution to that genre's struggles. Xu Fan reports.

Western interest, more than domestic demand, is propelling the production of films about Chinese ethnicities, an industry insider says.

"The rising attention from mature Western markets is taking ethnic movies to new heights," Beijing Ethnic Film Festival founder and Beijing Ethnic Affairs Commission deputy director Niu Song says.

He points to director Li Ruijun's Where Is My Home, which will compete at next year's Venice International Film Festival after picking up two best-script awards at US and Dutch festivals earlier this year.

The story centers on two ethnic Yugur children in Gansu - Li's home province - who undergo a harrowing journey to find their father, whom they presume to be herding cattle, as Yugurs have for millennia. They're disappointed to find him instead in a stream panning for gold because this betrays their ideas imaginings of Dad as a horse-riding hero.

It's the first film about the Yugur group. The ethnicity's population of more than 14,000 live in Gansu and once dominated a 1,000-kilometer stretch of western China.

Currently, 21 of China's 56 ethnic groups don't have a film focused on them, Niu says.

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