Big-budget Chinese television drama series If Time Flows Back featuring one of China’s biggest stars is due to wrap this week on three episodes set and shot in South Australia. Iconic locations from North Terrace to the Barossa Valley will be showcased to an audience of more than 90 million people via Chinese television and streaming platforms.
Based at Adelaide Studios the production has an estimated spend in the state of $1 million and has created 146 jobs for local cast and crew, including seven South Australian heads of department.
If Time Flows Back is the latest Chinese production to be secured by Adelaide-based 57 Films following the first Chinese drama series shot in Australia, Speed, and 57 Films’ own ground-breaking Chef Exchange. This pipeline of production is cementing South Australia as a key partner for the multibillion dollar Chinese screen industry.
Originally from Shandong, writer/director Zhang Jiandong has written South Australia into three of the 45 episodes of the script because of its sister status with Shandong Province. The series stars some of China’s biggest stars, Jin Dong (The First Half of My Life, Ode to Joy) and Jiang Xin.
57 Films managing director Paul Ryan said the company employs a full-time producer dedicated solely to production with China and has taken an immersive approach to building these cross-cultural, productive working relationships.
“57 Films has been building good respectful relationships with our Chinese friends and partners over many years and our working together serves to deepen those ties. Respect and understanding of culture is the cornerstone to doing business with China.”
South Australian Film Corporation provided a Production Investment Grant for the SA production elements and a paid producers attachment on the series for emerging filmmaker and Flinders University Postgraduate, Yuan Wei, who speaks Mandarin.
CEO of the South Australian Film Corporation Courtney Gibson said: “57 Films has been a pioneer in Chinese production in Australia and it continues to grow this business, now delivering episodes within the biggest-budget Chinese TV series ever made. This is great for South Australia, great for our topline heads of production and our emerging female producer attachment, and fantastic to see the streets of Adelaide playing host to some of China’s biggest stars.”
This follows the announcement last week of Adelaide-based VFX company Rising Sun Pictures completing its first Chinese production for international release in fantasy adventure feature film Animal World.
Top photo [L-R]: Zonghan LI (Cast), Xin Jiang (Cast), Dong Jin (Cast), Jiandong Zhang (Director, in Adelaide Crows hat & scarf), Naiwen Li (Cast)