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Dream project

Updated: 2016-07-21 08:13:09

( China Daily )

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Roles in the film are inspired by ancient Chinese classics and mythology, which some critics say make the film a showcase of oriental culture and history.

He saw a tiny fish growing bigger and bigger until it started to fly in the sky. In a later dream he found himself transformed into a big fish swimming in an ocean.

Alongside his friend and then-art student Zhang Chun, Liang-without any prior filmmaking experience-turned the idea into a seven-minute flash footage that became a sensation online.

In 2005, Liang quit the university and founded a studio with Zhang to pursue their artistic dream: to turn the idea into a feature-length animation film.

"It was initially a story about the pursuit of freedom," Liang recalled in a recent interview.

As China's film market had yet to soar then, the duo struggled for years to raise funds.

The turning point came in 2013, when they succeeded in obtaining 1.58 million yuan from 3,996 netizens through a crowdfunding campaign. That soon drew the attention of Enlight Media, China's largest private film company, which financed the production.

"The project's journey and the directors' persistence to follow their hearts are touching," says Wang Jing, a Beijing fan who has followed the project for a decade.

"It proves ordinary people can realize their dreams even without professional experience. Honestly speaking, the film is a bit disappointing, but it still has an inspirational off-the-screen story," she says.

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