Beijing Zhongbei, Russia's Ren TV pact for $5 mil drama


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CANNES--Chinese production house Beijing Zhongbei TV Art Center and Russian broadcaster Ren TV said Tuesday they will coproduce a U.S.$5-million drama, "The Warrior's Ultimate Secret," a first-of-its-kind television venture between their two countries.

The coproduction, which involves financial investment from companies, highlights efforts by a delegation of Chinese producers to forge international ties that will carry their industry past the current fervor for Olympics-related content.

The strategy includes banding together at the MIPTV market for the first time as a delegation representing the TV Producers Association of Beijing, You Xiaogang, chairman and national director of Beijing Zhongbei TV Art Center, said.

Chinese companies exhibiting at MIP this year are up 33% from last year, according to March 31 figures provided by organizers Reed Midem. This includes the biggest-ever delegation from Beijing, where the Olympics begin in August.

The 24-part series "The Warrior's Ultimate Secret," a modern drama combining Kung Fu, suspense, police action and love story, will start shooting in October with You directing from scripts by Hu Wei.

The show will be shot in Russia, China and France and is expected to wrap by early 2009.

Igor Prokopenko, deputy director general of Ren TV's documentaries department, said the coproduction is a "great opportunity to foster a relationship between modern China and Russia."

Broadcast details have not been finalized.