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Hong Kong director Peter Ho-sun Chan tackles the highly emotive issue of child kidnapping in China in his latest movie, which began production on Friday, April 4.
The Wu Xia and American Dreams in China director will also produce the $12-million movie with Jojo Hui Yuet-chun with a script by Zhang Ji, which has no English title as yet. Its Chinese name translates as Dear Children.
American Dreams in China made $95 million in the box office, but the new movie marks a move into darker social themes.
Every year, thousands of children are kidnapped in China and sold, sometimes for adoption or forced labor, and Dear Children is about a group of parents who go out to find their abducted children themselves.
There are regular stories of police raids freeing groups of children from slave labor in cement factories, and last year a doctor in a hospital in Shaanxi province was convicted of kidnapping newborn children and selling them.
In February, a nationwide police dragnet arrested more than 1,000 people linked to four major Internet-based baby trafficking rings.
While the central government is committed to stamping out child trafficking, often police on the ground lack the resources or are indifferent to the complaints of parents, and parents have taken steps to find their children themselves.
The cast includes Zhao Wei, the star of Red Cliff and Painted Skin, who recently scored big box office as director of So Young; Huang Bo, who starred in Lost in Thailand and Crazy Stone; Tong Dawei, who featured in The Flowers of War and Chan’s last movie American Dreams in China; as well as Hao Lei and Zhang Yi.
Production design is by Sun Li (Wu Xia) and costume design is by Dora Ng (Bodyguards and Assassins, Wu Xia), both regular Chan collaborators, while the director of photography is Shu Chou (The Piano in Factory).
The movie is a co-production between Chan’s We Pictures, China Vision Media Group, Stellar Mega Pictures Ltd, Enlight Media Group and Happy Pictures Culture Communication. We Distribution will handle international sales.
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