An Afro-Chinese thriller

2012-06-09 17:16

The SA producer and Congolese director of hit crime thriller Viva

Riva! are creating a landmark co-production deal with China for their next


Inspector Lou, a high-octane Chinese gangster film set in Kinshasa,

is being developed by producer Steven Markovitz of Big World Cinema and

producer-director Djo Munga of Suka! Productions.

Their sexy thriller Viva Riva! was released internationally last

year and was a success, winning the 2011 MTV Movie Awards for Best African Movie

and several African Movie Academy awards, including Best Film. Also targeting

distribution in Africa, the film is being released in 19 countries and will soon

be translated into Swahili.

It’s a model that the duo intends capitalising on – but now with

Chinese interest behind it.

“In the rest of the world, cinema is lagging, but in China and

Africa it’s really just starting out,” says Markovitz.

“China is building 3 000 state of the art cinemas a year. They’re

the second biggest market in the world after America in terms of dollar value.

Soon they’ll be the biggest. If you have a film screened there the return at the

box office is significant. Outside of America, Titanic 3D did more in China than

the rest of world put together,” he says.

In the spirit of the co-production, Markovitz and Munga want

Inspector Lou to have as much of an appeal to Africa as to China. They’re

entrenching their African network by working with Nigerian distributors 234

Media, who also operate from Kenya.

“I’m totally excited by the project because it is a new approach to

African cinema,” said Munga from Kinshasa.

“I want to make this China-Congo

thriller noir a unique encounter between the two cultures.”

In the story, a Chinese detective whose partner was killed 15 years

ago by a gangster finds out that the killer is living in the DRC. He flies to

Kinshasa to take revenge, working with a local cop. He soon discovers, however,

that his enemy has become a major crimelord.

The team say they hope to start shooting Inspector Lou late next

year. The body count, you can be sure, will be considerable.

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