xi's moments

Sino-Ghanaian film to portray struggle against deadly Ebola

By Xu Fan | China Daily | Updated: 2018-09-02 13:39

China (Hunan province) dispatches medical workers and experts to Sierra Leone in aid, May 10, 2015. [Photo/VCG]

The latest cinematic project by Chinese and African filmmakers is inspired by an event that resulted in the largest amount of medical aid from China to the continent.

The movie, Ebola, is the first Sino-Ghanaian coproduction, producers said.

Ebola, which will include a cast of A-listers and a script penned by writers from both sides, is a breakthrough in the cinematic histories of China and Africa.

The film is jointly produced by Beijing-based studio Shinework Pictures and Perception Management International Ghana Ltd, a film and television production company in Ghana.

Shen Jian, chairman and CEO of Shinework, said the crew has spent more than a year interviewing dozens of Chinese medical professionals and Ebola patients who survived the disease.

The mother of one of his best friends, an ophthalmologist at a hospital in Wuhan, capital of Hubei province, died of liver disease at age 39 in Algeria.

"She was buried on the hill behind the hospital where she worked in Algeria," said Shen, who spoke in a sideline interview at the coproduction agreement signing ceremony in Beijing on Wednesday.

This year marks the 55th anniversary of China's medical aid to foreign countries. China has dispatched around 25,000 medical personnel to 69 countries and regions and treated some 280 million cases of disease, which includes patients with multiple diseases, according to the National Health Commission.

When West Africa was hit by Ebola in 2014, China dispatched around 1,200 medical workers and experts to more than 10 countries, providing 750 million yuan ($120 million) in aid.

Shen said he closely followed micro-blogging articles written by Cao Guang, a Chinese doctor quarantined for 21 days after treating a patient in Conakry, the capital of Guinea, who was confirmed as the first Ebola patient in the capital. Several of Cao's colleagues were infected with the virus.

Cao, who attended the ceremony, said it will be inspirational to see the stories of his colleagues risking their lives on the front line of the fight against Ebola. He said the movie will raise public awareness about the difficult jobs of Chinese medical workers.

Edward Boateng, Ghana's ambassador to China, said his country witnessed the Chinese government's aid to disease-stricken areas.

"Very few Chinese stories are told in Africa, and very few African stories are told in Africa," he said, adding that he hopes to see more coproductions, such as the story of China's 1970s aid in building railways in East Africa.

The script is expected to be finished by year's end, and the movie shot in Africa in 2019. The production is scheduled to be completed in 2020.

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