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September 26, 2020

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TV shows highlight unity in age of coronavirus

COVID-19 is the subject of many new Chinese television series and documentaries, with touching stories based on real-life heroes battling the virus.

Beginning September 29, the documentary-style drama “Be Together” will air on Dragon TV, a tribute to Wuhan — the city hardest hit by the virus in China — and the country’s many unsung heroes.

Produced by Shanghai Media Group with support from the Wuhan and Hubei Province governments, “Be Together” weaves together 10 stories about China’s fight against COVID-19 with a panoramic view of Chinese from all walks of life who teamed up to vanquish the virus.

Among them are medical professionals, young volunteers, construction workers who built the Huoshenshan Hospital in mere days, community workers and delivery drivers.

Wang Jun, director of one of the series’ stories about mobile cabin hospitals in Wuhan, said the production crew built an exact replica of a makeshift Wuhan hospital to provide an authentic representation of the working conditions medical workers endured.

Many well-known actors volunteered to appear in the series, including Lei Jiayin, Zhang Jingchu and Ni Ni, featured in the story about Wuhan hospitals. Lei plays a man who volunteers to deliver vital goods for medical workers and patients. Deng Lun plays a young hospital volunteer in Wuhan from Dalian, Liaoning Province, who provides a sense of lightness and humor in a highly stressful environment.

Scriptwriter Gao Xuan said the drama is an accurate portrayal of the events that unfolded during the viral outbreak.

A Shanghai-produced documentary series “Life Matters: Inside Wuhan’s Red Zone” recently aired across Southeast Asia on the History Channel. Over a four-week period, the production crew was given special access to three Wuhan hospitals hardest hit by the virus. Director Fan Shiguang said production equipment had to be disinfected before it could be used in isolation zones.

“My phone was irradiated with ultraviolet light for 20 minutes, then wiped with peracetic acid and soaked in alcohol,” Fan said. “When I got it back, it was in a yellow bag and dripping with alcohol. We were afraid everything we filmed would be wiped out. After everything dried, we were so relieved to see the screen light up and our footage was intact.”

China Media Group recently released “Heroes in Harm’s Way,” a 14-episode series consisting of seven separate stories about China’s fight against the novel coronavirus disease.

Production of the drama series took around half a year. Stories of ordinary people including taxi drivers, construction workers and volunteers are featured in the series to depict Chinese people’s courage, solidarity and sacrifice.


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