TV series ex­plores ecol­ogy of China

China Daily (USA) - - TOP NEWS - By AN­GUS McNEICE in Lon­don an­gus@mail.chi­nadai­

Phil Ag­land re­cently left the cutting room floor of a project that saw him haul a state-of-the-art, high-def­i­ni­tion cam­era across the Chi­nese wilder­ness for a thou­sand days.

But Ag­land — a Bri­tish film­maker whose past ex­ploits in­clude liv­ing with a tribe in the canopy of a Cameroo­nian rain for­est for five years— was sur­pris­ingly full of en­ergy.

“I’m still wired,” he said at the Bri­tish Academy of Film and Tele­vi­sion Arts’ head­quar­ters in Lon­don. “And I will be un­til it’s out there.”

His col­lab­o­ra­tion with CCTV, China’s state broad­caster, on a five-part series, China: Be­tween Clouds and Dreams, will be shown on CCTV in early Novem­ber. It will be avail­able to Bri­tish tele­vi­sion view­ers be­gin­ning on Satur­day.

Set against the back­drop of China’s nat­u­ral beauty and di­verse fauna, the series fol­lows sev­eral char­ac­ters, mainly chil­dren, as they dis­cover the threat that hu­man set­tle­ment poses to lo­cal species, habi­tats and re­sources.

How­ever, Ag­land was re­luc­tant to call it an en­vi­ron­men­tal series.

“I think it’s wrong to point a fin­ger of blame,” he said. “It’s about the hu­man con­di­tion.”

The series ex­plores the eco­log­i­cal cost of hu­man progress, as the cast of char­ac­ters seeks al­ter­na­tives for a bet­ter fu­ture. The “four mus­ke­teers” — a group of stu­dents play­ing in­ves­tiga­tive re­porters — go to great lengths to have their lo­cal pa­per pub­lish a story on the plight of the en­dan­gered spoon-billed sand­piper. The birds flock once a year to the fer­tile mud flats of Jiangsu prov­ince, along with one-fourth of the world’s shore­birds.

Lit­tle Gama, the son of moun­tain no­mads and a monk trainee, trav­els through the plateau of Qing­hai prov­ince and learns that the glaciers that feed China’s rivers and con­trol East Asia’s weather sys­tems are un­der threat from cli­mate change.

One of Ag­land’s hopes is that the doc­u­men­tary will in­spire the next gen­er­a­tion of con­ser­va­tion­ists.

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