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Oldest Filmmaker Launches TV Channel

Changchun Movie Production Group Co (also known as Changying in the country), the oldest filmmaker on the Chinese mainland since New China was founded in 1949, launched a cable TV movie channel yesterday.

The first movie to be broadcast on the new movie channel, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, a kungfu film starring Chinese actress Zhang Ziyi and directed by Ang Lee, won a best foreign movie academy award in 2002.

"We really hope this famous film will bring more luck to our new channel," said Song Jiangbo, vice-general manager of the filmmaker.

The company plans to broadcast up to 1,600 movies and 12,000 minutes of cartoons a year.

"There will be a variety of content to meet different demands for various audiences," the company official added.

Founded in 1955 as the mainland's first filmmaker, Changying is renowned for classic films of revolutionary wars, rural lives and documentaries.

During the golden era of Chinese filmmaking from the 1960s to 1980s, the company produced scores of brilliant works such as Guerrilla of the Plain, Flowers of the Motherland, Liu Sanjie, and Visitors to the Ice Mountain.

Luo Yabiao, a retired 62-year-old living in Erdao District of Changchun, capital city of northeastern China's Jilin Province, has been a film buff for 40 years.

"The sensation that those movies created then was the same as that by today's imported Hollywood pictures, if not greater," the retiree said.

"I still remember the days when we queued outside ticket offices on snowy days. The movies were a part of our lives," Luo said.

However, nowadays most Chinese people would rather watch a video at home. Indeed, China has more video players than any other country.

So far the channel has attracted over 200 advertisers, including drink maker Pepsi and auto manufacturer Buick.

Distribution of video and audio products is starting to open up to foreign companies that want to invest in the industry on the Chinese mainland.

(Xinhua News Agency January 2, 2004)

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