Screening – Escape from Huang Shi

Screening Monday 6th July, 2009

Escape from Huang Shi is a brutal and compelling story based on true events that took place during the 2nd World War.  In 1937 George Hogg (Rhys Meyers), a young English journalist travels to war ravaged China in search of the frontline and a big story. He encounters and overcomes unimaginable horrors as he works both as a teacher and journalist in the war zones. When the Japanese invade and massacre hundreds of innocent men, women and children in front of him, Hogg, barely escapes with his life. This brave young journalist then risks everything to lead sixty children, orphaned by the war, across hundreds of miles of treacherous terrain on the Silk Road, fending off air and ground attacks by the Japanese invaders and Chinese Nationalist Movement.

Hogg is thrown together with an American nurse Lee Pearson (Mitchell) and Chen Hansheng the leader of a Chinese partisan group (Yun Fat) who meet in desperate and unexpected circumstances.

The film is a passion project of director Roger Spottiswoode and the film’s creative team was assembled from around the world. Headed by the Chinese director of photography Zhao Xiaoding, (Curse of The Golden Flower, House of Flying Daggers). Steven Jones Evans, a production designer (Ned Kelly, Buffalo Soldiers) was brought in to form the design team with Huang Xinming (Curse of the Golden Flower, Hero, Road Home), one of China’s leading art directors. Australia’s Kym Barrett (Romeo and Juliet, Gothika, The Matrix) joined the team as Costume Designer.

Filmed on location in China and Australia, the crew were extremely fortunate to secure some of the most famous national monuments and hauntingly beautiful locations in China, turning it into another character in the film.  Of great historical significance is the area where some of the biggest scenes were filmed in and around Dunhuang, not far from the Western end of The Great Wall. This site is also close to where the actual orphanage was built that inspired the film’s story.

The scope of the production was immense. Dunhuang is close to the historic junction of the Northern and Southern Silk Roads. The area where the crew was filming is often referred to as an ‘oasis’, the most spectacular part of the Gobi desert famous for its majestic sand dunes and unique rock formations known as the ‘Yadan’.

Roger Spottiswoode (Director)
Most recently Roger Spottiswoode directed a feature film in Rwanda titled Shake Hands with the Devil. He began his career as an editor in the early ‘70’s, working with legendary director Sam Peckinpah on Straw Dogs. His other editing credits include Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, The Gambler, Hard Times and The Getaway starring Steven McQueen.

Running Time:    120 mins approx

The outstanding cast includes Golden Globe® winner Jonathan Rhys Meyers (The Tudors, Mission Impossible III, Bend it Like Beckham), Radha Mitchell (Finding Neverland, Phone Booth), Chow Yun Fat (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Dragon Ball), Michelle Yeoh (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Memoirs of a Geisha) and David Wenham (Australia, Lord of the Rings, 300).