Art And Culture

Sino-Iran Film on Martial Arts

Sino-Iran Film on Martial Arts Sino-Iran Film on Martial Arts

Following the first Iran-India joint movie ‘Salaam Mumbai’, due for screening in Iran in June, the first joint Sino-Iranian film is passing its pre-production phase.

Thematizing on the martial art kung fu, which has fans in both China and Iran, the script for the joint production ‘Way to Shaolin’ is currently being written by the well-known Chinese screenwriter Dong Zhe, IRNA reported.

Dong traveled to Iran during the Fajr International Film Festival (FIFF), April 20-25, and visited several cities.

Hojatollah Ayoubi, head of Iran’s Cinema Organization, said last week that Dong talked to Iranian families during his week-long stay so that he could have “a true vision of the country and people when writing the parts of the script happening in Iran.”

Dong was the script coordinator in the 2011 China-Hong Kong film ‘Flying Swords of Dragon Gate’ in which Jet Li, the Chinese kung fu actor, starred. In the same year, he co-wrote the script for the drama/historical ‘The Founding of a Party’ and in 2014 co-wrote ‘The Taking of Tiger Mountain’. The latter earned $140 million worldwide in the box office.

The story is about an Iranian kung fu fan who struggles against adversity to become a martial arts master. He embarks on a journey to the Shaolin Temple, the cradle of kung fu in China’s Henan Province to learn Shaolin Kung fu, one of China’s oldest martial arts.

The first step for the Sino-Iranian project was taken last April when a MoU was signed between Iran’s Farabi Cinema Foundation and the Chinese studio ShineWork Media to coproduce the movie.

When Shen Jian, chairman of ShineWork, visited Iran, he was surprised to hear about the high number of Iranians interested in martial arts. “There are reportedly thousands of Iranian youth practicing martial arts, which means a movie about the subject is quite likely to win their hearts,” Shen said.

 Love for Action Movies

Many people in the world, including Iranians, are fond of action movies especially with martial arts. Jet Li is one of the action stars whose films are popular across the globe and lots of Iranians are interested in and have followed his movies.

Iran’s local film market and its influence in the region motivated Shen to sign the agreement on coproduction. Iran cinema has greatly improved in the past two decades and its productions have won numerous international awards and screened abroad, mostly in neighboring countries. The local sale of the movies has also increased in the past two years as people have shown more interest in quality films of different genres on screen.


Production will take place in both Iran and China with actors and crew from both countries. “Shooting for the film will begin later this year,” Shen said.

To ensure that the action moves are authentic, the Shaolin Temple will provide guidance on the choreography and also locations for the movie.

“Most foreigners who want to learn kung fu usually seek out the Shaolin Temple. If you visit the temple, you will see people from different ethnicities and countries practicing there,” Shen noted.

As Amir Esfandiari, director of international affairs at Farabi, said, the film is to help promote cultural exchange between the two countries while tapping into Chinese and Iranian markets and “perhaps even the world market”.

Farabi, operating under the supervision of the Culture Ministry, is active in producing films, screening local films abroad, and cooperating in joint productions.

The Shaolin Monastery, known as the Shaolin Temple, was built in 495 AD and abounds in the legendary stories on the martial monks.

Ayoubi who visited the temple last July expects the production to be completed by the 35th FIFF, due in April 2017. There are also joint productions underway with Armenia and the Netherlands, he said.