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Xiao Zhan and Fan Bingbing Offer Unexpected Support for Tibetan Filmmaking

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Tibetan filmmaker Pema Tseden is no stranger to praise, having picked up awards at the Chicago and Shanghai International Film Festivals. But now, the Balloon director is getting love from an unexpected source: China’s A-list celebrities.

Fan Bingbing, back in the limelight but still recovering from her fraud scandal, co-hosted an interview with Tseden. The event took place at the China Academy of Art, in light of a mainland theatrical release for 2019’s Balloon.

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Tibetan Director Pema Tseden’s “Balloon” Deconstructs China’s Stringent Birth Control Laws

Balloon delivered a nuanced look into China’s birth control laws, to great critical acclaim, following characters in the sweeping pastoral scenes of Qinghai as they navigate sex, condoms, and the act of raising a family.

Besides Fan, fellow celebrity icon Xiao Zhan has lent his voice of support to the film.

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“Hello everyone, I am Xiao Zhan,” The Untamed star said in a video post. “Today, I’m recommending Director Pema Tseden’s latest work, Balloon. This film is a major breakthrough compared to the director’s past works, addressing topics like marriage, and issues faced by women.”

In the past, fans of Xiao Zhan had expressed so much passion and fervor for their idol that they garnered a negative reputation in the public eye. An unexpected shoutout from the major star could prove to be a driving factor in the film’s mainland theatrical run.

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Learn more about the work of Pema Tseden in RADII’s feature interview.

Adan Kohnhorst
Adan Kohnhorst is a Shanghai-based writer, producer, and multimedia artist, and the Associate Editor at RADII. His work has been featured in publications such as Maxim and the Chinese-language StreetVoice, and he’s an active member of the hip hop and DIY music scenes in Shanghai, NYC, and Dallas. He learned Mandarin in high school so he could train at the Shaolin Temple, but now just uses it to interview rappers. He blogs about China and Asia on Instagram: @this.is.adan