TVF International Inks Sales for Premium Docudrama


TVF International has made several broadcast deals for Dun Huang: Ancient Frontier Fortress.

The premium miniseries reveals how the ancient desert oasis of Dun Huang rose to become a vital stronghold on the ancient Silk Road, connecting China to the world. Featuring large-scale dramatic reconstructions, it covers over 2,000 years of history from the Han to the Tang dynasty and beyond.

TVF International Productions has licensed the program to an array of broadcasters, including DR Denmark, SBS Australia, A+E Networks Latin America, AMC Iberia, Ceska TV, Now TV Hong Kong and RTVE Spain, with several other deals in negotiation.

Directed by award-winning Irish director Ruán Magan (The Men Who Built America, Pearl Harbor–The Heroes Who Fought Back), the series from IFA Media garnered 50 million views per episode when it premiered on the Chinese streamer Tencent.

Magan commented: “The premise behind Dun Huang is absolutely brilliant: In the heart of the Gobi, one of the world’s most inhospitable deserts, thousands of kilometers from civilization, human beings carved a vast complex of caves out of an oasis cliff between the 3rd century and the 10th century AD. In the process they created a splendid monument to the human soul and a labyrinth of enduring mysteries. But who were they? Why did they undertake this massive enterprise? And how was their world lost for a thousand years and then discovered by accident in 1900?”

With China featuring as the country of honor at this year’s MIPCOM, Dun Huang: Ancient Frontier Fortress tops off a hefty Chinese-produced slate for TVF, which also includes the feature doc The Six: Titanic’s Last Secret, China on Stage and Kung Fu.

Julian Chou-Lambert, TVF’s China lead who acted as producer on the international version, added: “Dun Huang: Ancient Frontier Fortress is a world first, with dramatic reconstructions on a level never seen before in a Chinese factual production. Like a real-life Game of Thrones, it includes the dramatic rise and fall of both a mighty Xiongnu warlord, Juqu Mengxun, and China’s only female emperor, Wu Zetian, who harnessed Buddhism to smash through Tang China’s highest glass ceiling. And the story resonates far beyond China, as several of the priceless treasures discovered at Dun Huang were taken by a British explorer and remain in the British Library in London.”

Lu Bo, of IFA Media, said: “Dun Huang: Ancient Frontier Fortress was an extraordinary co-production project, with top-level talent from China and the West collaborating to bring the ancient Silk Road back to life. The mystery of the unique religious manuscripts discovered in the caves, the ruins of the 2,000 year-old Jade Gate and the ancient battlefields on the Silk Road are all so rich in history and reveal an ancient city connected to numerous other civilizations.”