China-Canada copro Unspoken goes to camera in Manitoba

Zhuibu (Manhunt) Photocall - 74th Venice Film Festival
The feature film from writer-director Daming Chen stars Chinese actor Zhang Hanyu.

Principal photography has started in Manitoba on the China-Canada co-production Unspoken.

Winnipeg’s Buffalo Gal Pictures is the Canadian producer on the feature film, with prodco president Phyllis Laing as executive producer and executive VP Isaac Clements as co-producer.

Other producers include China’s Huanxi Media and CMC Pictures of CMC Inc. The international production team is led by Los Angeles-based Court Five Productions’ Mark Ordesky and Jane Fleming, Chinese producer Han Sanping, and CMC’s Ming Beaver Kwei. Chris Lee, former TriStar and Columbia Pictures president, is an executive producer.

Chinese filmmaker Daming Chen wrote and directed the suspense drama, which stars renowned Chinese actor Zhang Hanyu (pictured) as an ex-police officer reeling from the sudden death of his estranged, Deaf daughter in the U.S., where he believes authorities are pursuing the wrong suspect and racism is hampering the investigation. Chinese star Vivienne Tien plays a translator who helps him find justice. Other cast members include Michael Cudlitz and Jake Abel.

Filming is also taking place in China for a planned release later this year.

“Daming’s vision is as inspiring as it is relevant,” Ordesky and Fleming said in a joint statement. “We are thrilled to be working with this illustrious Chinese team to ramp a truly international production. With three languages (English, Chinese and ASL) being utilized regularly on set, we are living proof that with effort and patience, understanding is always possible.”

Steve Xiang, CEO of Huanxi Media, said it’s a story that will resonate with audiences both in and outside of China, while “its cross-border setting makes it even more interesting.”

Unspoken is produced in support of Manitoba Film & Music and the Government of Manitoba.

Cudlitz is represented by APA and Anonymous Content; Abel is represented by APA and Untitled Entertainment.

Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images