May 20, 2011 11:16 ET

Xi'an Qujiang Film and TV Investment Group Announces $30 Million Investment in Film to Be Helmed by Antoine Fuqua and Penned by David Franzoni

Deal Represents One of the Largest Investments Ever Made by a Chinese Investment Fund

HOLLYWOOD, CA--(Marketwire - May 20, 2011) - Calling it one of the largest investments made in a film by a sovereign Chinese-based investment fund, the Xi'an Qujiang Film and TV Investment Group (QFTV) announced the signing of Antoine Fuqua, acclaimed director of the Academy Award®-winning film Training Day, and David Franzoni, Academy Award®-winning producer and Academy Award®-nominated screenwriter for the film Gladiator and Amistad, to helm and pen a romantic drama set in 8th century China during the Tang Dynasty and centered on the tragic love affair between Emperor Xuanzong and the imperial concubine Yang Guifei.

"This represents an important milestone for the Qujiang Film and TV Investment Group as we seek noteworthy creative projects highlighting significant milestones and aspects of Chinese history and culture, especially those centered in the Xi'an region of China," said Zhao An, chairman of the QFTV. "Today's project represents another step forward in funding a production with a U.S. creative team and we hope for more partnerships and projects in America."

The as-of-yet untitled film centers on Emperor Xuanzong, the seventh emperor of the Tang Dynasty and the longest reigning at 43 years in the 8th century, and the love affair with his Imperial concubine, Yáng Guìfēi, who is historically known as one of the Four Beauties of ancient China.

"With source material as exotic as this to Western audiences, this romance and its characters are well known to Chinese and reflect the timeless qualities that a tragic love story has, set against wars, rebellion, politics and palace intrigues," Fuqua said. "It is an honor to be entrusted with this story, which has so much meaning to the Chinese people."

The emperor and his consort's love affair has been widely celebrated by classical poets throughout China's history and is the subject of paintings, Chinese operas, books and television shows over the years and is enjoying a creative revival.

"I've written about ancient Rome and a chapter in America's slave history, but this story is a unique challenge, an opportunity to paint a rich portrait with powerful, interwoven stories, on a canvas little known to a western audience. It's a tremendously, exciting project," Franzoni said.

As the lead investor in the film for $30 million (200 million yuan), the production marks the QFTV's initial foray into foreign film making and represents what it hopes is an expanded presence in the international film scene. It is one of the largest investments made so far by a Chinese investment fund in a film production. The film is planned to be shot at locations throughout China and be released in 2012.

"Being only a stone's throw from the Kodak Theatre and the home for the Oscars, we dare hope that one day soon a film funded by us will be joining the illustrious slate of nominees in the near future," Chairman Zhao said. "We hope this attracts the Hollywood creative community to seek out more stories based on our history and culture and join us in bringing those stories to a wider audience."

The Chinese film market is the fastest growing in the world; experiencing a whopping 64 percent growth in domestic box office ticket sales of $1.5 billion in 2010. At the recently completed 1st Beijing International Film Festival, creative deals valued at nearly $429 million (2.8 billion yuan) were closed at the Beijing Film Market among 334 film companies that attended.

Serving as host and emcee for today's ceremony was Lisa Lu, noted Chinese-American actress and documentary producer whose screen credits include 2012, The Joy Luck Club and The Last Emperor.

Xi'an Qujiang Film and TV Investment Group
A wholly owned subsidiary of Xi'an Qujiang Cultural Industry Investment (Group) Co., Ltd., the Group covers: investment, production and issuance of movies and television series; programming of features, major cultural activities; development of stage properties and cultural landscape; management, trade, investment and issuance of digital copyright; planning, implementation and representative publishing of advertisements, and to facilitate large-scale development of an internationalized, specialized and market-driven movie industry.

Its first creative production was the 2009 documentary "Daming Palace" which premiered at the United Nations and centered on the historic Daming Palace, the imperial palace for the Tang and Sui Dynasties. For more information, go to

Xi'an, called Chang'an (meaning the eternal city) in ancient times, is the capital of Shaanxi province and is one of the oldest cities in China, with more than 3,100 years of history and was one of the Four Great Ancient Capitals of China for over 1,100 years, having held that position under several of the most important dynasties in Chinese history including Zhou, Qin, Han, Sui, and Tang. Xi'an is the eastern terminus of the Silk Road and home to the world-famous Terracotta Warriors of the Qin Dynasty.

Since the 1990s, as part of the economic revival of interior China especially for the central and northwest regions, the city of Xi'an has re-emerged as an important cultural, tourism, industrial and educational center of the central-northwest region, with facilities for research and development, national security and China's space exploration program.

"Academy Award®" is a registered trademark of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

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