True North teams up with Chinese / French partners for international co-production ‘Designed in China’

14th January

True North teams up with Chinese / French partners for international co-production ‘Designed in China’

True North is to partner with Chinese state broadcaster CCTV9, Beijing-based media company CICC and French broadcaster France Ô

Three part series to film on location in China and Europe, following Chinese designers at the cutting edge of architecture, fashion and product design.

True North, the UK’s fastest growing indie outside London, is today delighted to announce the commencement of an innovative co-production, bringing together progressive media companies, producers and broadcasters in Europe and China for a new three part series. The deal will see True North work in partnership with Chinese state broadcaster CCTV9, Beijing-based media company CICC (China Intercontinental Communication Center) and France Television’s pioneering digital channel, France Ô, to produce a documentary series examining the rise of a new generation of talented Chinese designers.

Commissioned by CICC and developed by True North’s Executive Producer for specialist factual, Liz McLeod, the three part series will follow the journeys of nine talented young Chinese designers including: glamorous fashion designer Guo Pei, internationally sought-after architect Ma Yansong and award-winning product designer Zhang Lei.

Set to film on location across major cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou and Guangzhou, the series will also visit places less familiar to an international audience, such as the beautiful mountainous province of Guizhou. Working closely with CICC’s research and production team, True North will set up a team with a pool of predominantly China-based production talent, rather than parachuting in personnel from overseas, and gain unprecedented levels of access and cooperation at ground level.

Instrumental to the agreement has been True North’s Executive Producer for specialist factual, Liz McLeod. Liz’s 15 years’ experience overseeing ambitious international co-productions, combined with a seven year long relationship with CICC, was crucial to establishing the trust and cooperation of all parties essential to moving the commission forward.

Production is already underway with delivery expected in early 2014. The series will air in France on France Ô and in China on CCTV’s dedicated documentary channel CCTV9. This latest collaboration with CICC marks True North’s second commission in the Far East, with the company already in talks regarding further projects in the region.

Marc Allen, Managing Director at True North, commented on the commission by saying: “International productions and co-productions, especially with China, are an important area of focus for True North, opening up new programme-making opportunities. Bringing together exciting and ambitious projects like this is hugely encouraging and testimony to the experience and creativity of this area of True North’s operations.”

Liz McLeod, Executive Producer for specialist factual at True North, added: “Design is really flourishing in China today, with great characters and surprising stories to tell. Working with CICC, and a largely China-based team, means that we’re able to follow these stories as they evolve, giving the programmes a richness that wouldn’t otherwise be possible.”

Wang Yuan Yuan, Head of the International department at CICC commented: “In 10 years of doing international co-productions, this is the first time I’ve managed to bring together a foreign broadcaster and a Chinese broadcaster to work with CICC and an international production company. I think this is because – in Chinese design – we’ve found the right subject.”

Tian Yuan, Head of International Co-productions and Acquisitions, CCTV9, commented: “I think this topic will work for a Chinese and for an international audience because it’s about new trends in design and good design doesn’t recognise national boundaries. We are also always looking for stories that show a dynamic China to an international audience.”

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