Chinese TV to air Virginia series


Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)
April 19, 2013

Nearly 1 billion Chinese who tune in to state-run TV next month will see a three-part series on Virginia.

Gov. Robert F. McDonnell announced the television program Friday in a conference call from Ningbo, China, which he is visiting as part of a trade mission to California and Asia.

“The Story of Virginia” comprises three 26-minute segments focused on the commonwealth’s rich history as well as the role that people of Chinese heritage play in modern Virginia.

“Virginia will be positioned as the ‘hometown of the United States’ with segments covering colonization, the Revolution, the Civil War, culture, agriculture and Virginia’s role in the growth of America,” according to material provided by the Virginia Film Office. “One of the three segments will concentrate on Chinese presence in Virginia and how Chinese people have become a part of the state’s business and cultural community.”

The series is the result of a partnership between the Virginia Tourism Corp., the Virginia Film Office and China Central Television, known as CCTV.

The project got its start on a previous trade mission to China, when the governor and first lady Maureen McDonnell met with representatives of CCTV. McDonnell said the concept for the show was developed by his wife and Rita McClenny, president of the Virginia Tourism Corp. The film office was also involved.

“They’d never done a major series on a state,” McDonnell said. “They sent a film crew to Virginia and spent quite a lot of time there, and crafted the story. And now it is ready to air.”

For three weeks in late 2012, a crew traveled the state to film attractions such as Monticello, the University of Virginia, Barboursville Winery, Trump Vineyards, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, the State Capitol, Shirley Plantation, Jamestown, Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia Beach, Old Town Alexandria, Mount Vernon, Arlington National Cemetery and Dulles Airport.

The program will air multiple times on English- and Chinese-language documentary channels in China starting May 9. McDonnell said it will be seen by “a remarkable 900 million people.”

In addition to China, it will also be broadcast a number of other countries. Public television stations in Virginia plan to show the program, though no broadcast date has been set.

Laura Vozzella covers Virginia politics for The Washington Post.
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