High hopes for university's first film to go abroad [China Daily: Hong Kong Edition]
(China Daily: Hong Kong Edition Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Students and teachers from Qingdao Agricultural University in Shandong province were pleasantly surprised by the positive response from global experts and critics to the trailer for their first 3D animation film, which made its debut at this year's Cannes Film Festival.
During the international event they sold the film's copyright to 35 countries including India, Turkey, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.
Production of the film, which is called Back Home of C9, will finish at the end of the year and is due to be released in early 2015.
The warm reception to the film provoked more interest among Qingdao's universities. The city's animation competition for local university students started last month and received a record number of entries from more than 20 institutions.
Back Home of C9 was the first 3D animation film produced in the province and the university's first film to go abroad, said Meng Qingbo, a teacher at the university's animation and media school, Qingdao Morning Post reported.
The science fiction film lasts about 100 minutes.
It tells a story of a blue alien, called C9, who was forced to land on a beach after his spaceship suffered mechanical problems and is discovered by a sixth-grade student, Du Qiu, who loves innovation.
As Du and his friends try to send the alien back home they solve an energy crisis and protect the world, with their new alien friend.
Meng said that the story, which is set in the coastal city of Qingdao, combines local nature and the city's iconic elements through modern film-making technology.
"The plot was developed around the expression of inspiration, friendship and family affection as well as energy-saving, environmental protection and the relationship between human and animals," Meng said.
More than 100 students and teachers participated in the creation and production of the film, and most of the students were under the age of 24.
To create more vivid effects the group visited famous local tourist spots and iconic buildings to take photos.
The film includes 10 scenic spots including Wusi Square, Badaguan (Eight Great Passes) and Jiaozhou Bay sub sea tunnel.
The film is part of the university's efforts to establish a creative teaching mode to stimulate the innovation capability of its students, said Zhao Xiaochun, head of the university's animation and media school.
He said students produced other original animation films, some of which won domestic and international awards.
The city's animation industry has witnessed rapid development since Qingdao was listed as a national creative industry base in 2007 by the then General Administration of Press and Publication, said Liu Yucong, secretary-general of the city's animation and creative industry association.
Led by Shinan Software and Animation Game Industry Park, Qingdao's animation industry is taking off and has stepped into the digital age, he said.
As of April, the park was home to about 100 animation companies, 54 of which hit annual sales incomes of more than 10 million yuan ($1.6 million) each, China Economic Net reported.
(China Daily 07/02/2014 page17)
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