First China-Pakistan animated coproduction to hit theaters in Chinese mainland as emblem of friendship
Published: Dec 20, 2021 11:25 PM
A Chinese girl presents a bouquet to Pakistani Ambassador to China Moin ul Haque at the premiere. Photo: Courtesy of Xi'an Bailu Fenghe Productions

A Chinese girl presents a bouquet to Pakistani Ambassador to China Moin ul Haque at the premiere of Allahyar and the Legend of Markhor. Photo: Courtesy of Xi'an Bailu Fenghe Productions

Allahyar and the Legend of Markhor, the first animated movie jointly made by Chinese and Pakistani artists, held its premiere in Beijing on Sunday ahead of its release in Chinese mainland cinemas on December 25. The film's arrival is seen as one of a number of events celebrating the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Pakistan.

Pakistani Ambassador to China Moin ul Haque gave a speech at the premiere. 

The ambassador said that the movie, the first China-Pakistan animated coproduction, is significant in light of China-Pakistan's 70th anniversary of diplomatic ties. Markhor, or screw-horned goat, is the national animal of Pakistan just like the giant panda is for China, so the film not only promotes Pakistani culture but teaches children how to protect wild animals and nature.

"Exchanges and connections between the two countries are solid," the ambassador noted. He hopes that in the future, there will be more Pakistani movies launched on screens in China, introducing Pakistani culture to Chinese people and helping strengthen connections between the peoples of the two countries, including future generations.

The ambassador led the audience at the premiere to shout out "Ba tie!" which means "Pakistan is good friend of China."

Directed and written by Pakistani filmmaker Uzair Zaheer Khan, the film created with funding from China's National Film Board was worked on by Chinese animators and Chinese scriptwriter Xin Xiaohan, who attended the premiere.

The movie was inspired by an ancient tale that takes place along the boundary of China and Pakistan. According to the tale, whoever saves a markhor can gain the ability to communicate with animals and will become a guardian of the forest, Xi'an Bailu Fenghe Productions, the Chinese production company that worked on the film, told the Global Times.

The animated production follows the story of Allahyar, a young and curious boy who ends up dealing with difficult circumstances in the northern mountains of Pakistan. In a series of events, Allahyar tries to save a markhor from hunters, and also makes friends with other animals such as a snow leopard after he is rewarded with the ability to speak to animals.

Liu Chun, manager of the China Film Co-Production Corporation, said at the premiere that it took four years to make the movie and the work is a rare example of a Chinese co-produced animated movie.

Audience members at the premiere were positive about the film, telling the Global Times that the film is of high quality and that they highly recommend it. 

The movie debuted in Pakistan in February 2018 and has a 7.7/10 on IMDb. It won the Prestigious Monolith Award for content at the Infinity Film Festival, held at Beverly Hills, California.