Taipei (AsiaNews) - More than 360 million viewers is the incredible number reported by Chinese National Television (CCTV, 中央 電視台), in its audience ratings for various programs broadcast. The huge number of viewers was for the first airing of the three part documentary film of Giuseppe Castiglione (郎世寧), a Jesuit painter from Milan (1688-1766), who became one of the greatest and most admired in the history of 'Chinese art (Click here for the trailer of the film in English)
On the weekend of April 10 and 13 the documentary aired on channel 10 of the giant television network and attracted a huge number of viewers, unexpected even by many who worked on the project.
Father Jerry Martinson (丁松筠 神父) and Father Emilio Zanetti (蔡明隆 神父), the film's Jesuit producers who belong to the Kuangchi Program Service (KPS, 光啟 社), tell us: "In view of the main character and theme, we knew it would be a success but we did not expect that there would be a number of viewers of these proportions. This is really a surprise, a wonderful surprise. We spoke with the manager of the network and Mr. Jiang (蔣 社長), director of the documentary section of Jiangsu TV (江蘇 衛視), the company that co-produced the film with us, and they are extremely satisfied. Mr. Jiang told us on the phone: 'Although the competition is very strong and there are hundreds of high-end productions, this result is achieved only in a few cases. The credit goes to Giuseppe Castiglione, who is really an important figure in the history of Chinese art, and the high quality of the production. Jiangsu TV is delighted to have contributed to the production carried out by Kuangchi Program Service for the national television '. Next month the documentary will air on other provincial networks and will be repeated on the national channel, the target of half a billion viewers that at first was a mirage, at this point, will be easily surpassed.
"Unbelievable!" enthuses the President of Kuangchi Program Service, Jessica Chuang (莊麗紅 社長) "we have invested money, time and energy, but the results prove us right!".
Father Jerry also says that a deal is currently under discussion for broadcast on US public television, thanks to the diligence and dynamic participation of Rose Chen Nanping, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and Georgetown University in Washington DC.
Father Zanetti is already thinking about the next target audience: "In Europe, Castiglione will air in Italy, first in Milan, his place of origin, on the evening of 30 September, and then in Germany and France. He was an international artist and deserves this global promotion. We are already discussing the next Kuangchi Program Service production with the Chinese national television: for many the theme is a surprise, and I do not want to reveal it right away! The most important thing is that Kuangchi Program Service has built a solid reputation for quality production, the numbers bear this out and we will not stop here. "
KPS, again in collaboration with Jiangsu Broadcasting Corporation, had previously produced two documentary series, aired repeatedly by China Central Television. The four-part series on Xu Guangqi (徐光啟), and the two-part series on the figure of the German Jesuit Adam Schall von Bell (湯若望) tutor of the young Emperor Shunzhi (順治 帝). Besides reaching a wide audience they also received a large number of national and regional awards for the quality of production. Both series were also distributed on DVD and on the Internet.