FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                 Thursday, April 12, 2018                                



Major Chinese Media Company to Collaborate with Veteran Canadian Producers


BEIJING: A documentary on the creation of Cirque du Soleil’s show to be unveiled in 2019 in the Chinese tourism gem of Hangzhou and a Canada/China travel exploration series are headlining a new collaboration between two of Canada’s leading television producers and one of China’s largest media companies.


Ballinran Entertainment and White Pine Pictures today signed a Memorandum of Understanding with China’s CTV Golden Bridge International Media Group (Sinomedia, 00623 HK) to jointly develop a slate of documentary projects destined for their respective domestic markets as well as international platforms. The agreement was formalized as part of Canada’s first-ever Creative Industries Trade Mission to China and witnessed by the Hon. Melanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage, her Chinese counterpart Mr. Luo Shugang, Minister of Culture and Tourism and Jonathan Tétrault, President & Chief Operating Officer of Cirque du Soleil.


“This is the first-time Golden Bridge has signed such an agreement with a Canadian company and we are honoured to be starting this journey together,” says Craig Thompson, President of Ballinran Entertainment, whose company has been making inroads in China for the past five years. “This creative collaboration reflects China’s desire to boost the quality and appeal of their documentary entertainment output by developing projects that appeal to audiences both in China and around the world.”


“The relationship with Golden Bridge developed as a result of a chance encounter at Hot Docs in 2017 that led to an initial meeting at our offices in Toronto,” recalls Peter Raymont, President of White Pine Pictures. “It demonstrates the importance of events like Hot Docs in facilitating international partnerships, which are now essential to creating successful and entertaining programming.”


Canada’s Minister of Heritage points to the agreement as evidence that Canada’s cultural brand is gaining traction in China. “Canada’s creators and creative industries are some of the most talented in the world, which is resulting in innovative partnerships here in China. I have no doubt that the success of the first creative industries trade mission will result in further collaboration and partnerships between our cultural sectors in the future.”


The agreement with Golden Bridge was facilitated by Wei Hu of Ballinran Entertainment. Originally from China, and now based in Canada, the multilingual Ms. Hu has more than a decade of marketing experience developing Chinese business for one of Japan’s largest tech companies.


The Cirque du Soleil documentary is to be directed by noted Canadian filmmaker Barbara Willis Sweete who has built her career on performing arts productions including a documentary on the Peking Opera and more recently many of the Live HD productions of the Metropolitan Opera.


For more information:

Davida Gragor, White Pine Pictures, 647.300.6223

Rebecca Scott, Ballinran Entertainment, 519.589.9642


About Ballinran Entertainment

Established in 1995, Ballinran Entertainment has been creating film and television productions for Canadian and international broadcasters for more than two decades. The company was founded by Craig Thompson, a former journalist and television correspondent who worked for several years for Canada’s main networks, including three years as a foreign correspondent based in London, England.


Ballinran currently has four films streaming worldwide on Netflix, the most recent of which is the feature documentary The Truth is in the Stars, starring William Shatner, which examines where our quest to understand the universe will take us by the time we reach the era of Star Trek, 250 years in the future. The documentary featured a remarkable encounter between the icon of science fiction and an icon of science, the late Stephen Hawking, in one of his last in-depth on-camera interviews.



About White Pine Pictures

White Pine Pictures is an independent, Canadian film and television production company based in Toronto.  For 40 years White Pine has engaged audiences worldwide with compelling stories in documentary and dramatic form. Under the leadership of Emmy award winning filmmaker Peter Raymont, White Pine’s film, television, and interactive productions have earned over 76 awards, including Genies, Geminis, several Gold and Silver Hugos and The Sesterce d’Argent. The company has become trusted suppliers of documentary programs to all Canadian broadcasters, and to BBC, Channel 4, PBS, Nat Geo, France 2, ZDF-ARTE, SVT, NHK, ABC, SBS among many others.


About CTV Golden Bridge International Media Group

Founded in 1999, CTV Golden Bridge International Media Group (CTVGB) has developed in to China’s leading integrated media corporation with two major business clusters – content production for television, mobile and digital platforms, and advertising and marketing services from some of the world’s most recognized brands.


Photo Cutline: Ballinran Entertainment and White Pine Pictures sign an MOU with CTV Golden Bridge International Media Group during the Canadian Creative Industries Trade Mission to China. From left to right: Wei Hu, Consulting Producer, Ballinran Entertainment, Peter Raymont, President, White Pine Pictures, Craig Thompson, President, Ballinran Entertainment, Hon. Melanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage, His Excellency Luo Shugang, Minister of Culture and Tourism, People’s Republic of China, Lynette Zhang, Deputy Director and Chen Xin, Chairman, CTV Golden Bridge International Media Group, Jonathan Tétrault, President and Chief Operating Officer, Cirque du Soleil and Zhiyi Liu, General Manager, CTV Golden Bridge International Media Group.