TV Series Lifelong Journey wrapped up the season on March 1. But its business journey does not end. The U.S.-based Walt Disney has purchased its publishing right for outside China and begun adaption before airtime. In the meantime, local blockbusters Wind from Luoyang, Reset, and Dance of the Phoenix are also greeting foreign households now, having established an unprecedented oversea presence of Chinese soap operas.
Lifelong Journey, based on a long novel of Liang Xiaosheng, elaborates - from a multitude of angles, positions and levels - the massive changes of the Chinese society and ups and downs of people's life during the past 50 years, by following the life of three brothers/sisters surnamed Zhou of a northeastern city. In 2019, the original novel won the 10th Mao Dun Literature Award. Once it went on air on CCTV 1 and iQiYi on January 28, it became an instant hit and soon earned a raft of accolades, among them, top rating at CCTV 1 in the past five years, frequent appearances on Weibo trending list, ultra-high 8.1 score at Douban, 400 million views.
According to Li Lu, director of Lifelong Journey, Walt Disney pre-ordered the exclusive publishing right for oversea markets one month after the start of its mere production. Li added, Walt Disney's buying intention is to afford oversea viewers a chance to see what changes happened in China in the past 50 years and how the changes happened.
In addition to Lifelong Journey, Wind from Luoyang, Reset, and Dance of the Phoenix have also found their buyers with the first two landing in the Republic of Korea and the latter one shown in Japan.
In the recent years, with the overall growth of China and its cultural soft power, China is approaching the center of the world, who is becoming increasingly curious about the evolution and changes of the Chinese society. The viewing public overseas desires to know the current, real China and the life of its people.
TV series is one of the avenues and windows to present the current China. But there is no other way to get a nod from oversea viewers but to let them see the creators' international vision and sophisticated contents. "I told my staff that each image, each script and each play shall carry international vision. Disney's purchase of Lifelong Journey's copyright means profoundly for us. The least we could do is to shoot everything with an international vision and international story-telling angle," Li believes that the so-called international vision means top-shelf quality and telling an ordinary story in a genuine fashion. "Your story-telling shall be vivid, close to people's hearts, have a fluffy, real-life touch. The whole world runs the same love, hate, feeling, revenge. This the authenticity and credibility we are seeking."
Local TV creators as him use their heart, feeling and energy to tell Chinese stories right, spread Chinese voices, show a real, three-dimensional, multifaceted China to the world and earned recognition of oversea viewers. We are looking forward to seeing more quality shows that record, depict and celebrate the new era.