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Fans to get more Black Cat Detective, Monkey King
By Xu Wei

CHINA'S animation industry is considered to be creatively challenged, but the Shanghai Animation Film Studio says it has 10 projects in the works that are high-quality originals, remakes of classics and sequels.

They are to be released next year.

Following the success of "Monkey King: Uproar in Heaven" last year, the studio will collaborate with foreign CG/computer graphics designers on "Monkey King: Flaming Mountain."

"The Monkey King hero is rebellious and optimistic and the film cultivates the virtues of honesty, loyalty and goodness in today's children," says director Su Da.

Foreign visual effects experts will help create some combat and fantasy scenes. The Monkey King stories are expected to be developed into a long-running series.

Su is also director of the popular, light-hearted cartoon TV series "Big-ear Tutu."

The animated film will be released in around two years. The boy, Big-ear Tutu, embarks on a fantastic adventure on a mysterious island.

Su says the character and some dialogue were inspired by her own mischievous, smart and kind son. She doesn't want a perfect character; the little boy has shortcomings and makes mistakes, that's how he learns.

Competition from foreign animation is stiff and China's domestic producers must develop their own compelling brands and franchises, Su says.

Most successful foreign animated productions have several hundred episodes and a series of by-products, therefore, their influence lasts for a long time, she adds.

Black Cat Detective

Besides, the creation and production of a sequel to the Black Cat Detective series, "Mr Black," is underway. It's about a black cat that solves a variety of tough cases and gets involved in fantasy adventures.

The classic "Calabash Brothers" series will be made into a live-action cartoon film version. The studio plans a CG puppet animation project for "Effendi," about a legendary wise man.

Also in the works are a light-hearted martial arts animation, "Eight-tail Cat," and the fantasy "Seabed 20,000 Miles."

Some of the productions will be released overseas.

Since it was founded in 1957, Shanghai Animation Film Studio has produced more than 370 animated films and series, many of them critically acclaimed. Many Chinese people grew up with them.

Qian Jianping, director of the studio, says that though the studio had a golden period decades ago, it now faces new challenges and opportunities. The focus is on originality and on developing a mature film franchise and animation industrial chain, he says.

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