City of Life and Death: Feature about Japanese Occupation of Nanking

August 16, 2009–National Geographic Entertainment has acquired North American rights to Lu Chuan's “City of Life and Death.”   It's the second pickup this year for National Geographic's new theatrical distribution unit. NG E also acquired Cherien Dabis' Sundance feature “Amreeka,” which weill begin a platform release on September 4.

NGE's National Geographic Films previously co-distributed the 2005 docu hit “March of the Penguins,” with Warner Independent Pictures.

“City of Life and Death,” about the 1937 Japanese occupation of Nanking, opened in mainland China in April and became the year's second highest opener there after John Woo's “Red Cliff II.”  The cast consists of Chinese and Japanese actors, including Liu Ye, Fan Wei, Gao Yuanyuan and Hideo Nakaizumi.   The white epic makes its international debut as a special presentation at the Toronto film Fest next month.

NGE's relationship with writer-director Lu goes back to his last film “Mountain Patrol: Kekexili,” which unspooled at the National Geographic All Roads Festival and won several prizes on the global fest circuit in 2004-05. NGE co-distributed the pic domestically with IDP/Samuel Goldwyn Films.

“City of Life and Death” will be released later this year or in early 2010.   The producers include the Beijing Film Studio, China Film Group, Stellar Megamedia, Jiang Su Broadcasting, Media Asia and Shanghai Bailiang Investment.