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Chinese Stone Lions Now an Actual Reality

A seven-year odyssey comes to fruition as Disney's first original Chinese TV co-production.

This week, I'm taking a break from virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality to talk about actual reality: Chinese stone lions are alive!

A "seven-year itch" was finally scratched as I watched the premiere of Ban Jin Ba Liang (半斤八兩 in Mandarin, which loosely translates to “tweedledum and tweedledee”) January 16th, 2016 on China's Dragon TV channel. In 2009, Wen Feng, Yi Yan and I had the crazy idea to make a buddy comedy about Chinese stone lions. Initial development was bootstrapped by our Beijing-based content company Magic Dumpling Entertainment under the working title Stone Cold Lion, featuring our hearty heroes Chip and Nick.

Stone Cold Lion was a finalist in the 2011 Kidscreen Summit's "Pitch It!" contest, and Disney China acquired the property in 2012. Wen, Yi and I joined Disney China that year to found the new Local Content team. The next three years were a flurry of activity across various projects while Stone Cold Lion ran the development gauntlet. Creating a Disney show is an adventure, and so is creating a SAPPRFT-approved Chinese TV show. Synthesizing these adventures is an odyssey, but one that ultimately paid off in the form of the 3D-animated Chinese TV series Ban Jin Ba Liang, starring Stoney and Rocky and co-produced by Disney China and SMG Toonmax -- Disney's first original Chinese TV co-production.

I'd like to thank everyone who was involved with bringing BAN JIN BA LIANG to Chinese television: from the artists & writers to the producers and managers, production companies and distributors. In particular, I'd like to thank the talented members of Disney China's Local Content team, some of whom I've known since their student days at the Beijing Film Academy and the Communication University of China. I'd also like to thank our friends at Disney and Toonmax for their faith and support. China, this show is for you.

Kevin Geiger's picture

Kevin is the author of AWN's Reality Bites blog, his musings on the art, technology and business of immersive media (AR, VR, MR) and AI. You can find Kevin's website at www.kevingeiger.com and he can be reached at holler@kevingeiger.com.

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