Qiu Xiaolong's 'Chief Inspector Chen' Books to be Adapted into Seven Feature Films

Films will be made as Australian-Chinese co-productions

SYDNEY – German film and documentary producers Wieland Schulz Keil and Cordula Paetzel have joined with Australian producer Marion Macgowan to acquire Chinese author Qiu Xiaolong´s English-language detective novels based on the character of Chief Inspector Chen, which they plan to turn into seven feature films, they announced on Monday.

The features are planned to be made as Chinese-Australian co-productions.

Negotiations with a Chinese distribution and production house and with international sales agents are underway, producers said.

The Chief Inspector Chen series is set in Shanghai and has been translated into over 20 languages. According to Publishers Weekly "Chen stands in a class with Martin Cruz Smith's Russian investigator, Arkady Renko, and P.D. James's Scotland Yard inspector, Adam Dalgliesh."

Qiu Xiaolong was born in Shanghai and now lives in St. Louis, Missouri where he teaches Chinese literature at Washington University.

Schulz-Keil, who heads up Berlin–based Neofilm, is returning to Sino-themed films after coproducing Roger Spottiswoode’s Children Of Huang Shi (aka Children Of The Silk Road), filmed entirely in China and which was made as an unofficial Australian-Chinese coproduction ahead of the inking of the two nations’ formal pact in 2009.

Cordula Paetzel is the producer of award-winning TV-documentaries including What the Chinese Read (2010) a film on Chinese contemporary literature, starring Qiu Xiaolong.

Marion Macgowan is the principal of Sydney-based Macgowan Films, which has made seminal independent Australian features including Two Hands and South Solitary, and which now focuses on co-productions with Europe, North America and more recently Asia.

The Dragon Pearl and 33 Postcards,  both with Australian releases slated for later this year, are the only two other feature made under the Australian-Chinese treaty to date.