Exclusive: SBS Australia & A+E LatAm among slew of sales for Tencent Dun Huang docudrama

Dun Huang: Ancient Frontier Fortress

SBS Australia and A+E Networks Latin America are among a slew of international broadcasters to pick up Tencent docudrama Dun Huang: Ancient Frontier Fortress.

DR Denmark, AMC Iberia, Ceska TV, Now TV Hong Kong and RTVE Spain have also acquired the 2 x 52-minute series from distributor TVF International.

The IFA Media-produced docudrama explores the Chinese UNESCO World Heritage Site’s turbulent ancient history. Directed by Irish director Ruán Magan (The Men Who Built America, Pearl HarborThe Heroes Who Fought Back), the series garnered 50 million views per episode when it premiered on the Chinese streamer Tencent.

The series reveals how the ancient desert oasis of Dun Huang rose to become a vital stronghold on the ancient Silk Road, connecting China to the world. Featuring large-scale dramatic reconstructions, it covers over 2,000 years of history from the Han to the Tang dynasty and beyond.

The series showcases Dun Huang’s power struggles and uncovers how it became an important centre of Buddhist faith and art, but then fell into decline, with its treasures buried for centuries before a remarkable chance discovery in 1900.

“The premise behind Dun Huang is absolutely brilliant: In the heart of the Gobi, one of the world’s most inhospitable deserts, thousands of kilometres from civilization, human beings carved a vast complex of caves out of an oasis cliff between the 3rd century and the 10th century AD. In the process they created a splendid monument to the human soul and a labyrinth of enduring mysteries. But who were they?,” said Magan.

Julian Chou-Lambert, TVF’s China lead, who acted as producer on the international version, said of the show: “Like a real-life Game Of Thrones, it includes the dramatic rise and fall of both a mighty Xiongnu warlord, Juqu Mengxun, and China’s only female emperor, Wu Zetian, who harnessed Buddhism to smash through Tang China’s highest glass ceiling.”

Dun Huang: Ancient Frontier Fortress joins other Chinese-produced titles on TVF’s slate, such as the James Cameron exec produced feature doc The Six: Titanic’s Last Secret; China On Stage, a Lion TV-produced series exploring the country’s fast-developing performing arts scene; and Kung Fu, a deep dive into the martial art with exclusive access to living masters.

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