CNN to feature APAC cinema series


Mumbai: In the run-up to the 2008 Asia Pacific Screen Awards, CNN will feature the power and reach of Asia-Pacific cinema in four half-hour series Scene By Scene documentaries starting 4 October.

Covering over 70 countries, one third of the earth and half of the world’s film output, Asia-Pacific cinema has never been more prominent and these programs celebrate its diversity and reach.

From New Zealand to India, Pakistan to Thailand and Australia to China, the documentaries travel across the Asia-Pacific to hear from the directors, producers and stars about the political, religious and cultural challenges they face making films. Some of the films and filmmakers profiled include:

Even bigger and more popular than Bollywood, Telugu cinema from southern India, known as Tollywood, features some of India’s brightest talents and biggest stars. Recent Oscar nominee Ashutosh Gowariker shares with Scene By Scene his experience working with Aishwarya Rai on his new film Jodhaa Akbar.

Scene By Scene visits the set of Mao’s Last Dancer, the true story of renowned ballet dancer Li Cunxin, and hears from Academy Award nominated director and APSA International Jury President Bruce Beresford in addition to leading actors Joan Chen and Chi Cao.

New Zealand
Scene By Scene gets a rare tour of what’s become known as Wellywood – the state-of-the-art filmmaking empire – established in the New Zealand capital Wellington by Academy Award winner Peter Jackson and business partner Richard Taylor. The best example of Weta Workshop may be Gollum from Lord of the Rings, but Taylor tells Scene By Scene the movie world is about to be stunned by James Cameron’s Avatar and Steven Spielberg and Jackson’s Tintin which are both in production in Weta.

Scene By Scene goes on location with Thailand’s royal filmmaker Prince Chatrichalerm Yukol, as he shoots an epic period story involving thousands of extras and over 200 elephants. One of the best known and most successful Thai film directors, Chatri’s recent production Suriyothai has become the country’s highest grossing film earning more than $18M at the box office.

From just $65M ticket sales in 2001 to $500M in 2007, Scene By Scene takes an inside look at the world’s fastest growing film industry interviewing the renowned producer Alexandar Rodnyansky. He talks candidly about his fears of a return to authoritarianism and has been told personally by Russian Presidents Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev that there are limits to what filmmakers can do. 

Scene By Scene examines how Jordan’s new film industry is by royal command. Her Royal Highness, Princess Rym Al-Ali, a board member of the Royal Film Commission lays out the Royal Family’s vision to make Jordan a powerhouse of Middle Eastern cinema by attracting filmmakers from all over the region. Jordanian director Amin Matalqa also talks on his decision to return from Los Angeles to produce an award winning film Captain Abu Raed.