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Milestones in Chinese Animation
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1941 Princess Iron Fan, China's first animated feature, was released. Made by Wan Laiming and his three brothers during the Japanese occupation, the film is based on stories from the classic novel Journey to the West, also known as The Monkey King, and has anti-Japanese undertones.


1961 and 1964 a two-part feature based on the main storyline from Journey to the West, it was made by Wan Laiming, who spent four years making 100,000 drawings. Generally regarded as an unqualified masterpiece, it signals the maturity of Chinese animation.


1980 Three Monks, an animated short film, recreates, in the traditional style of brush painting, the Chinese adage about the power of unity. A gem in most experts' eyes, it is quintessentially Chinese yet transcends cultural barriers. It represents the highest achievement by the famed Shanghai Animation Film Studio.


Three Kingdoms, Taiwan's first animated feature, was adapted from the principal episodes of the eponymous literary classic.


2001 My Life as McDull, Hong Kong's home-made blockbuster animated feature, was adapted from a local comic strip and targets adults as the main audience. It was followed by a sequel, in 2004, that has more mature-themed content such as political allegories.


2004 The State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) issued a regulation that set the ratio of domestic and foreign animated television programming at 60-40 and limits foreign fare to non-prime-time slots.


Three exclusively cartoon television channels were launched by Beijing, Shanghai and Hunan stations.


2005 First joint venture in animation production was formed by China Film Corporation, local partners and a Canadian company.


SARFT launches an award for "Promotion of Outstanding Domestic Animation" by selecting the best work from a roster of local stations.


2006 Hunan Greatdreams Cartoon Media raised US$8.5 million from venture capital firms led by Sequoia Capital.


Sanmao (Three Hairs), a 104-episode cartoon based on a pre-1949 comic strip and costing 50 million yuan (US$6.25 million) to produce, grossed 21 million yuan (US$2.6 million) in licensing revenues before it was completed.


(China Daily June 12, 2006)

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