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Communicating with sincerity is the most effective way to create a connection between people. This used to be done on a village square by skilled and passionate speakers. The modern version of this is cinema. The speaker’s tone has been augmented by an experience which transports us to places only imagined previously. Vivid imagery and fascinating music delivers an emotive impact that is embraced across the globe. While many films are created for entertainment, there are those which also seek to inform as did the speakers previously noted of bygone eras. Chuan Films and Disney Studio created Born in China to illustrate the lives of the endangered species of this country and increase awareness of their situation. Distributed by the Walt Disney company, the film aimed to allow the public access to these incredible creatures and build support for their preservation. Born in China is a perfect marriage of art, information, pride, and a benevolent goal.

Born in China ventures into the wilds of the country to glimpse intimate scenes of endangered animals, native to China, as they give birth to the next generation of their species who are in precarious circumstances. A panda and her growing cub, a young golden monkey who feels displaced by his baby sister, a mother snow leopard struggling to raise her two cubs, all are seen in tender moments in spite of the dangers that they face. Five film teams carefully captured the action of these animals while John Krasinski (A Quiet Place, Detroit, The Office) narrated the English spoken presentation of the film.

Specifically, because the images were so striking, rare, and emotional, Disney required the music which accompanied these to be equal fascinating. Producer Roy Conli enlisted music producer/music editor Fei Yu (acclaimed for her work in China’s film industry) to achieve this. The resulting soundtrack not only complemented the film but helped to communicate the importance of family which is so prominent in Chinese culture. Recorded at the iconic Abbey Road Studios in London, the music is largely orchestral with Chinese instrumentation featured throughout. British composer Barnaby Taylor created the soundtrack which was then reshaped by Fei Yu. Disney’s Mitchell Leib notes, “Fei Yu is by far one of the most talented and creative professionals in Music Production, Sound Recording, and Music Editing that I have ever worked with. The effect of her work on this film is immense.” Each of the animal “characters” in the film have their own theme with personality traits (an elegant cello for the snow leopard, a happy bouncy melody for the Panda, percussion for the ever active monkey, etc.) and an overall “love” theme for the familial connection of the film. The varied identities of the different animals in the film are distinct thanks to the skill and oversight ensured by the immensely talented Fei Yu.

Born in China not only displays the pride and commitment that China has to protecting the life forms native to this country but also seeks to convey the personalities and emotions of these creatures. Yes, the film was incredibly successful in China and worldwide but it also raised awareness of these endangered animals, helping the world to see them as a valuable recipients of admiration and worthy of ensuring that their species lives on.

Author: Ron James

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