17th Chinese American Film Festival recently kicked off in Los Angeles through a hybrid format combining both virtual and in-person events. Among the 600 participating works, Zhang Yimou’s Cliff Walkers was selected as the opening film while Andrew Lau’s Chinese Doctors was selected as the closing film. The 3D animated Legend of Sun Walker was only film chosen to be given an in-person private screening, with the film’s director Adam Juang and producer Czarina Liu in attendance to represent production company Digital Frontier Motion Pictures Corp.
Others in attendance at the Legend of Sun Walker private screening included Hollywood heavyweights such as Andre Morgan, producer of the Academy Award Best Picture winner Million Dollar Baby, The Warlords, and Perhaps Love; Omar Kaczmarczyk, who helped distribute Richard Donner’s Superman; and Richard L. Anderson, who received a Special Achievement Academy Award for his sound editing work. Following the screening, each of them expressed their amazement while also offering valuable advice.
Journey to the West is perhaps the best-known fantasy epic in the Chinese-speaking world. From novels, comics and local operas to both live-action and animation, the work has been adapted countless times. The Legend of Sun Walker is Taiwan’s first immersive 3D animated feature film, set for release domestically and internationally in the summer of 2022.
Director Adam Juang and producer Czarina Liu have more than 30 years of experience working in the international animation industry. Their solid technical backgrounds and continuous research on the latest cutting-edge technologies made Legend of Sun Walker light up the eyes of the VIPs in attendance during the test screening. The 3D presentation and technology, diverse and rich characters, and colorful, detailed scenes all left a deep impression on the viewers.
As Legend of Sun Walker is Taiwan’s first stereoscopic version of Sun Wukong and is also accompanied by the AR mobile game Sun Walker Game, Adam Juang and Czarina Liu repeatedly sought advice on how to ensure a successful release that will be sufficiently competitiveness in the international market. They received a lot of useful feedback; for instance, Richard L. Anderson suggested strengthening character backgrounds for global audiences; Omar Kacsmarczyk recommended more precise and colloquial dialogue and intonations. Additionally, there were suggestions regarding the main melody and theme song. The hope is that the film can break through international barriers and become a story shared by the world.
At the same time, the Hollywood VIPs also hope that the AR mobile game Sun Walker Game can be released before the film hits theaters to first stir up interest and increase fan stickiness. On this point, Digital Frontier notes that it has already created the beginnings of the Sun Walker Metaverse. The metaverse trend already looks to be unstoppable, from Facebook changing its name to Microsoft rolling out its own metaverse; it is believed that the economic scale of the virtual world will eventually surpass that of the real world. According to surveys, Taiwan’s digital economy has already returned to top 10 in the world. Equipped with such an advantage, how should they grasp business opportunities ranging from content, platforms to devices?
The 3D virtual world of Legend of Sun Walker naturally cannot ignore the gaming market. The Sun Walker Game has already devised a comprehensive strategy plan and has been matched with game developers Tempest Digital through the assistance of the Institute for Information Industry, paving the way for a successful crossover of the original IP into gaming.
Digital Frontier is looking to team up with even more professional talents to take on Hollywood. With a classic story, Chinese people all around the world are familiar with, cutting-edge 3D technology, and personal guidance from Hollywood heavyweights, Legend of Sun Walker—from the film itself to the development of derivative products and opening up of international channels—is primed to make a decisive impact.