A well-loved British story comes to life to connect with audiences across Mainland China, as the family comedy adaptation of the Paddington Bear books launches across the country this week. As part of the celebrations of the GREAT Festival of Creativity in Shanghai, the Chinese Premiere of Paddington held at the Shanghai Film Museum brought together a group of very special guests joined by HRH, The Duke of Cambridge.The evening also highlighted exciting cultural exchanges between the UK and China.
Paddington stars a wealth of British film talent including Hugh Bonneville (Downton Abbey), Sally Hawkins, Julie Walters, Peter Capaldi (Dr Who), Jim Broadbent and Ben Whishaw as the British voice of Paddington himself, and directed by Paul King (Bunny and the Bull, The Mighty Boosh) and multi-award winning producer David Heyman (Gravity, the Harry Potter series).
Paul King and David Heyman were joined on the red carpet with celebrated Chinese actor Chen Xuedong (Tiny Times) who voices Paddington in the Chinese version of the movie. The crowd gave a very warm welcome to Paddington himself who was present for his Chinese debut, and warmer still for HRH The Duke of Cambridge upon his arrival.
Producer David Heyman on the red carpet said:
We couldn’t be happier to bring our cinematic adaptation of Michael Bond’s Paddington to China.
Director Paul King added:
Paddington is the story of a young bear who travels around the world to find a warm welcome and a friendly home. We hope Chinese audiences will greet him with open arms, as others have done around the world.
Also in attendance on the red carpet was Rt Hon Sajid Javid, MP and Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport in the United Kingdom, who was in Shanghai to launch the first UK-China Year of Cultural exchange:
It’s brilliant to see a much-loved British story like Paddington being celebrated and appearing on the big screen in one of China’s most prestigious film museums. Throughout this Year of Cultural Exchange we can look forward to more events such as this, showcasing UK culture in China and Chinese culture in the UK.
As a symbol of promoting further cross-cultural exchange between China and the UK, HRH The Duke of Cambridge in his role as President of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) presented the highly respected Shanghai Film Museum with a replica of Zhang Yimou’s BAFTA award for Raise The Red Lantern in the ‘Film Not in the English Language’ category in 1993. The gift recognises China’s rich film culture and is a symbol of BAFTA’s intentions to forge stronger links with the creative talent in the country.
Amanda Berry OBE Chief Executive of BAFTA said:
BAFTA has a history of recognising Chinese creative talent through our Film Awards. We look forward to establishing even greater ties with the industry through our future activity in China.
Film director Zhang Yimou said:
I’m thrilled that BAFTA has chosen to donate a replica of the award I won for Raise the Red Lantern to the Shanghai Film Museum. This will allow many people to see the BAFTA award that means so much to me.
HRH The Duke of Cambridge ended his appearance at the event by giving a historical documentary filmed by a British war correspondent set in 1900’s Shanghai and restored by the British Film Institute to the Chinese Film Archives as represented by Mr Ren Zhonglun, President of the Shanghai Film Group and the Shanghai Film Museum, the Duke said:
As a gift from one nation to another, this will cement our relationship for what I hope will be every bit as strong for the next 100 years.