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UK and China to film co-production feature in Sichuan

Western Sichuan provinceA feature film about the first person to bring a live panda from China to the US is in the pipeline as a co-production between China and the UK. 

The Lady and the Panda centres on Ruth Harkness, a New York socialite who, upon the sudden death of her husband in 1936, headed up his expedition to China with the aid of Chinese guide Quentin Young. Together they end up rescuing an orphaned baby panda from the as-then-uncharted Himalayas. 

Laura Bickford produces alongside Michelle Qi, CEO of Europe China Picture Group. Joe Simpson, Andrew Mann and Fiona Druckenmiller executive produce. 

Justin Chadwick (Tulip Fever, The Other Boleyn Girl) directs from a screenplay he wrote with Bickford and Holly Gent Palmo based on the original letters of Harkness. 

Filming is due to begin next month in the Sichuan region of China among the foothills of the Himalayas. 

China’s international profile as a film-friendly production hub is very much on the rise. Recently, the country’s major studio development, the Qingdao Movie Metropolis (part of the Dalian Wanda Group), announced a hefty 40% filming incentive, aimed at attracting sizeable co-productions such as The Great Wall. 

High-profile, big-budget features international features are also contributing to the current focus on China, with Pacific Rim: Maelstrom and the Godzilla follow-up lining up to shoot in the country. 

For more on filming in China, head over to our production guide.