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Animated Feature 'Beast of Burden' Approved as First Official China/New Zealand Feature Film Co-Production

The New Zealand Film Commission (NZFC) and China Film Co-Production Corporation (CFCC) are delighted to announce the joint approval of 3D animated family film, Beast of Burden as the first official feature film co-production between the two countries.

Beast of Burden image is courtesy of the New Zealand Film Commission.

A partnership between New Zealand’s Huhu Studios (Huhu) and China Film Animation (CFA), Beast of Burden is the first of 17 proposed feature film collaborations between the two companies.

Written and directed by Kirby Atkins with Chinese co-writer Ge Jing, co-director Huang Jun and produced by Trevor Yaxley (Huhu) and Huang Jun (CFA), Beast of Burden is a heartfelt, tense, and exhilarating adventure set in both China and the USA and a must-see for the whole family. 

Beast of Burden is the story of a mythical beast named Mosley and his son Rue, who learn that only by standing up to our challenges, can we truly realise our potential, and that risking a single step of bravery on an unknown path can lead to miracles.

The New Zealand-China Film Co-production Agreement was signed in 2010. The NZFC’s dedicated China Co-production Development Fund was established in 2014 and Huhu was among the first to receive support.  Huhu participated in the NZFC’s screen sector delegation to Guangzhou, Shanghai and Beijing in December 2014, shortly after the signing of the television co-production agreement.  Complementing development support, the NZFC also maintains a dedicated production fund for China-New Zealand official co-productions.

NZFC CEO Dave Gibson says, “The NZFC is a strong supporter of Trevor, the team at Huhu and Beast of Burden and it’s incredibly satisfying to see such hard work and perseverance pay off.  Beast of Burden is testament to the strong and fruitful creative partnership between our two countries.  We’re committed to working with our good friends at CFCC to ensure that Beast of Burden is the first of many outstanding New Zealand-China feature film co-productions over the years ahead.”

CFCC President Miao Xiaotian says, “We’ve built strong and deep relationships with the NZFC and the New Zealand film industry.  I’m glad to see that filmmakers from both countries have established contact and communication which is leading to films in production.  Beast of Burden is an excellent example of leading Chinese and New Zealand talent collaborating on films that cross cultural borders.  CFCC is delighted to support it.”

Beast of Burden commences production in Beijing and Auckland on 20 March 2016.  The film is scheduled for release in December 2017.  WME is handling U.S. voice talent, with U.S. distribution confirmed via The Weinstein Company and China distribution confirmed via China Distribution Company, while Huhu with its China investors along with CFA own the global IP rights.


The New Zealand Film Commission invests in original and culturally significant films, encourages talented New Zealand filmmakers through developing career pathways and facilitating connections offshore, and works to increase the number of people seeing New Zealand films here and overseas.  It supports the growth of economic activity and helps ensure New Zealand has sustainable screen sector businesses operating within an internationally competitive screen sector.  The NZFC also helps negotiate co-production treaties and certifies co-productions and New Zealand films for tax purposes.

Founded in 1979, China Film Co-Production Corporation is a special organisation solely authorised by the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT) to administer affairs relating to Chinese-foreign film co-productions. It provides filmmakers wishing to film in mainland China with all-round information related to co production policies, industry landscape and co-production resources. As administrator and supporter of international co-production, CFCC encourages domestic filmmakers to film overseas, and also supports overseas filmmakers to film in China.

Throughout the past decades, CFCC has been dedicated to bringing together domestic and overseas film organisations and production houses. CFCC is proud to have made its contributions to the growth of international co-production and the drive of Chinese cinema to go global.

Updated on 31st March 2016