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The film industries of China and the US are working together more now than ever before. Contrasting any idea that this union might be detrimental to either, the increased consumer base for films is leading to a much greater previously untapped international market for both sides of this equation. Of course, the creativity spurred by artist of both countries collaborating is a new wellspring of ideas and sharing of approaches. Whether in front of the camera or behind the scenes, skilled creatives are manifesting a number of productions that are both a commercial and critical success. We see many of these here in the States but a glimpse into those which are marketed in China prove that our American artists fare just as well overseas. At the heart of this union are the talented professionals with an understanding of the process in both countries and the ability to communicate easily between the two. Music Editor/Music Producer Fei Yu is the ultra-talented link between China and Hollywood when it comes to manifesting the sounds of big budget hit films.

Skyhunter (2017) is an Action/Drama/Romance film in the vein of all great military “boy struggles against menacing foreign power and prevails to save the girl and the country he loves.” The concept maybe be very 1950’s/1980’s for the US film-going public but it played very well in China, achieving a nomination for Best Film at the 9th China Film Director’s Guild Awards (2018) as well as one for Best Director at the 23rd Huading Awards (2018). The film pulled at the heartstrings of national pride (no country is immune to this) and achieved this in part thanks to music from Hollywood score mainstay Hans Zimmer. In addition, Chinese singer and actor Lu Han lent his vocals to the film's ending theme song "Chasing Dream With Childlike Heart." Fei Yu worked with Zimmer in the spotting session post editing to discuss ideas and themes for the film. Both the military and romance storylines required a score which was diverse. The ending theme song (originally sung by the group Gala) was licensed and then reinterpreted by Lu Han in conjunction with Fei. The new version of this song was a massive success achieving number one status on the charts. Fei’s ability to navigate and coordinate every musical aspect from the traditional to popular point to her mastery of music in all its varied forms.

Another successful film venture but of a much different nature is 2016’s animated Little Door Gods. Written and directed by Gary Wang, this Light Chaser Animation Studios production tells the very Chinese story of a crisis in the Chinese Spirit World. When humans stop believing in the Gods, their heavenly world begins to suffer; it seems even the Gods can become unemployed. The story amusingly and sincerely presents the idea that every living thing has a connection to one another and thus a sense of responsibility. The score for this film was the first Chinese movie recorded and mixed in Dolby Atmos. Fei worked closely with score mixer Alan Meyerson and Emmy & Grammy award-winning composer Nathan Wang (known for, among other work, his collaboration with Zimmer on for Steven Spielberg's The Last Days which won an Academy Award for best documentary in 1999). The three-month long process of creating music for this film began with character themes and evolved until the final lock of the picture was presented. Recorded at the China Film Group, Fei’s previous stomping grounds, her knowledge of the acoustics and equipment expedited this involved process.

Production such as these two films are simply examples of the exponentially increasing integration of these two film titans. As with any successful and prosperous relationship, communication precedes talent but talent is essential. Professionals who lack a number of attractive traits including these and others are the keystone which will allows the film communities and music communities of the US and China to mutually benefit and explore new opportunities for all involved.

Author: Robert King
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