Jia Zhangke, China’s Biggest Dating App Team for Beijing-Set Drama

Jia Zhangke H

The Chinese auteur revealed details of the project, a first for "China's Tinder" Momo, at the Pingyao International Film Festival.

Chinese social media giant Momo, often referred to as “China’s Tinder," has reached a deal with acclaimed director Jia Zhangke for its first foray into the world of feature films.

The deal was announced at the Jia-led Pingyao International Film Festival (PYIFF), which is currently underway in the historic central Chinese city. The Beijing-based company is one of the financial backers behind PYIFF and will expand its footprint in film with a move into production. 

Momo and Jia used the sidelines of the festival to announce they will also co-produce a Beijing-set drama title The Best Is Yet to Come from first-time director Wang Jing and starring Bai Ke, who made his name in 2018's Nice to Meet You by Gu Changwei.

The story follows the fate of a group of hopefuls who move to Beijing in search of their fortunes in the early 2000s, including a high school failure who dreams of a being a writer.

"Momo has expanded into live streaming as our users’ needs have changed. We see film as a natural progression,” said Momo Pictures vp Zheng Li. “Having Jia Zhangke as a partner excites us as he has so much experience and we think we will make quality movies together."

Launched in 2011, Momo’s social dating and chat platforms have since attracted communities that now number in the hundreds of millions.

Jia has been nominated four times for the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival and is noted for deeply felt and socially conscious dramas such as The World and A Touch of Sin.

His future plans include playing a supporting role at this year’s PYIFF, with the trailer for the director’s first starring role as an actor — in the soon-to-be-released Pseudo Idealist — playing before the screening of each film. That film, helmed by Cheng Er (2016's The Wasted Times) and co-starring Zhou Xun (Perhaps Love, The Equation of Love), has a May 2020 release date set.

The festival is also screening a trailer for Jia’s latest documentary So Close to My Land, which focuses on the lives of a group of Chinese novelists.

PYIFF continues through Saturday.