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PRODUCTION Denmark/China

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Zentropa China is ready with romantic comedy True Beauty


- Danish filmmaker Christian E Christiansen will direct the company’s first feature, with a Chinese actress in the lead and with the shoot set to take place in China and Denmark

Zentropa China is ready with romantic comedy True Beauty
Director Christian E Christiansen

After two years of preparations, Zentropa China – a subsidiary of Denmark’s Zentropa Entertainments – will announce its first production and its Chinese partner this month.

At a press conference in Beijing, Zentropa China CEO Rikke Ennis – also managing director of Danish international sales agency TrustNordisk – will disclose details of Danish director Christian E Christiansen’s True Beauty, which will be shot in China and Odense, Denmark, where Danish fairy-tale author Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875) was born.

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The municipality of Odense has decided to invest €0.5 million in the €4.5-€5.5 million production to promote the city as an attractive tourist destination to 1.3 billion Chinese viewers. “It will be a new and unique platform to present Odense to Chinese people interested in Hans Christian Andersen, as they would be potential visitors,” said Thomas Kastrup, head of Destination Fyn.

With a Chinese actress in the lead, True Beauty is a romantic comedy about a young and lonely girl who lives in a fantasy world, in denial about her mother’s death. To move on, she has to learn that life is not a fairy tale – and who would be better to teach her that than Hans Christian Andersen? “It could be a breakthrough for Danish cinema in China, where the film market is seeing explosive development,” added Ennis. 

“It takes a long time to close a deal – we started this back in 2012. Everything we had heard about China appeared to be true, and if you don’t have the right partner, then you can forget about it,” she explained. Ennis estimated the film could reach up to 150 million admissions; China releases only 34 international films annually, but True Beauty is not part of the quota, since it is Chinese.

Christian E Christiansen has shared his time between Denmark and the US; most recently, he directed the American thriller The Devil’s Hand (2014), and he also made The Roommate (2011) in the US. A graduate from the Danish National Film School, his latest Danish film was the drama On the Edge [+see also:
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(2014), and he has also made episodes of the Dicte thriller TV series.

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