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The Hit Chinese Documentary “Once Upon a Bite 4” Explores the Global Collaborative Filming Model Under COVID-19 Pandemic

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--In the midst of the worst three years of COVID-19 pandemic, a new production by one of China's best documentary teams in a global collaboration, "Once Upon a Bite 4 - Planet of Grains," was broadcast and received high ratings of 9.4 out of 10 on Douban, the Chinese Rotten Tomatoes. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) cited the film on its Chinese social network accounts, saying that watching the documentary allows viewers to "feel the stability, peace and abundance that grains bring to individuals."

Restricted by COVID-19 epidemic, a new mode of long-distance collaboration emerged as the times require. Local researcher and crew members would communicate with the Chinese team through video conference twice a day.

In May 2022, independent documentary filmmaker Monica Wise, who was based in Mexico and the US recalled, “We had consecutive online meetings with Chinese directors and producers, working to translate the vision, both technically and story-wise, with over 14 hours of time difference and between three languages. It was my first major production in the pandemic."

Once Upon a Bite 4 – Grain Planet filmed eight stories around the globe, and collaborated across all time zones. Noam Shalev and Jonathan Zacharie from Highlight Films in Israel were also part of the collaboration. "We managed to prove to the world that even during the pandemic, when no one can travel, high-quality TV programs could be produced all the way to success,” said Jonathan.

The Chinese documentary team, DOClabs Beijing, wanted to help the world better understand China and each other through food. In an interview with TIME magazine, Chen Xiaoqing, Executive Director of the Once Upon a Bite series, said that: "There are constantly quarrels and tensions between all different cultures. The best way to solve them is communication - and people always talk over food."

Documentary program Once Upon a Bite was among the most popular series in China and beyond, with over 1 billion views for each season aired. And it was awarded the Best Documentary Series at the 25th Asian Television Awards in 2021. The Documentary has been distributed to Singapore, Malaysia, Japan and other countries to meet more overseas audiences.


DOClabs Beijing

Contact Person: Wu Di

[email protected]

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