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China plans ancient painting-based animated series

(Xinhua)

10:16, August 17, 2012

BEIJING, Aug. 16 (Xinhua) -- After a multimedia scroll production impressed millions of visitors at the Shanghai Expo, the 900-year-old masterpiece "Along the River During the Qingming Festival" has now inspired an animated TV epic.

The 365-episode namesake project is jointly sponsored by the Beijing-based animation company Wanhao, the Internet, Film and TV Center under the Central Committee of the Communist Youth League of China, and the Publicity Department under the Communist Party of China (CPC)'s committee in Kaifeng, the then-capital city depicted in the painting, the center said Thursday.

The painting, reportedly the only remaining work of China's Song Dynasty-era painter Zhang Zeduan, depicts prosperous scenes along a river during the Qingming Festival, which falls in late spring.

According to the center, every episode will follow a storyline that showcases good values as well as historical knowledge, with the entire project divided into seven parts that cover agriculture, transportation, science and technology, folklore, commerce and trade, culture and art and international communication.

The project came after the central government promised a series of favorable policies to stimulate the domestic animation industry, including encouraging private funding for qualified animation enterprises.

Despite having a production value of some 60 billion yuan (9.4 billion U.S. dollars) in 2011, the country's animation industry has been criticized for a lack of originality and world-renowned work.

A multimedia version of the painting, with a four-minute digital scene in a day-to-night cycle, was shown at the China Pavilion of the Shanghai Expo as well as various cities, including Hong Kong and Macao.
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