By Peter Knegt | Indiewire August 17, 2009 at 7:49AM
National Geographic Entertainment has acquired the North American rights to Lu Chaun's "City of Life and Death" ahead of its international premiere at next month's Toronto International Film Festival.
The film is an "epic tale" of the defiance of citizens who survive the 1937 Japanese occupation of China's capital, Nanjing. The Chinese soldiers, civilians, women and children, along with courageous American and European sympathizers -- based on real personalities -- fight bravely to resist and survive when it could have been much easier for them to accept defeat and even death.
"City of Life and Death" - which has grossed close to $26 million in China - is the second major acquisition for NGE this year, following Cherien Dabis' Sundance comedy hit "Amreeka," which will be released in New York and Los Angeles on Sept. 4 and in other cities soon afterward. "Life and Death" will be released late this year or early 2010. NGE will coordinate marketing of "City of Life and Death" with IDG China Media Fund, part of International Data Group, a U.S. venture capital company.
"Since seeing 'City of Life and Death' in Cannes, I have been passionate about releasing Lu Chuan's stunning panoramic epic," NGF President Adam Leipzig said. "I think it ranks with the very best war action movies ever made, and its extraordinary depiction of how civilians must deal with the aftermath of battle is deeply moving and haunting. Our acquisition of 'City of Life and Death' is especially exciting, as we have known Lu Chuan since 'Mountain Patrol: Kekexili' was screened at the National Geographic All Roads Festival, and it has always been our great hope to continue our relationship with this amazing young filmmaker."
Negotiations were handled by Tiffany Leclere and Kattie Evans for NGE, Ricky Tse for Media Asia, Jonah Greenberg for CAA, and Hugo Shong and Ted Perkins for IDG Media International.