Studio: Yi Animation / 20th Century FOX

Film: Kung Food

Director(s): Haipeng Sun

Executive Producer: Haiming Cheng

Writer(s): Haipeng Sun, Jinglei Lin, Hua Ma

Release: July 2017

Budget: Undisclosed

“Kung Food” concept art

This year Yi Animation will release its first original movie, “Kung Food”, the feature film adaptation of the studio’s TV series, “Super Bao”,

a stereoscopic 3D movie about living pieces of food uniting to prevent bland flavours from conquering the world.

Super Bao

“Kung Food” concept art

The “Super Bao” IP is no newcomer. After animator and director Sun Haipeng had finished working on Hong Kong animation feature “Storm Rider-Clash of Evils”,

he began doodling the character in 2008, only to find the plucky little Chinese bun earning compliments from fans and peers.

Sun developed his ideas into progressively longer short films, eventually joining forces with partner Cheng Haiming to form Yi Animation around the property in January 2013.

Unlike the other Chinese animated features set for release in 2017, the “Super Bao” IP already has a fanbase.

The Guangzhou-based company, with a production team of more than 200 animators, has already made 200 12-minute episodes of the show,

spread across six seasons, each of which take place on a different continent. Over 100 episodes have already aired,

winning a solid following among tweens and, the company claims, garnering more than 60 million clicks online.

Yi initially planned a movie for 2014, only to quietly drop the idea and instead launch 10-minute short online.

The studio is forthright in its intention to target the international market. Certainly no expense was spared at the American Film Market last November,

where Yi installed a giant inflatable sushi roll outside to greet visitors to the Loews Hotel.

Giant Kung Food inflatable outside the America Film Market, Nov’ 2016

20th Century Fox is an investor and co-producer for the movie.  As a result, and in keeping with the trend for many modern Chinese features,

Yi Animation’s slogan is “Hollywood mode with Chinese elements”, though it is unclear to what degree Western methods influences development and production on the ground in Guangzhou.

Directed by Sun and co-written with Jinglei Lin and Hua Ma, the early visuals and trailer for “Kung Food” feature some impressive artwork,

though there are story issues with the “Super Bao” series that will need to be addressed if the feature length version is to resonate with international audiences.

Beijing Enlight’s distribution and development arm Color Room is also an investor in “Kung Food”, and includes the project in its animation development slate.

Yi Animation is currently developing more of its own properties, like “Poy & Friends” and “NeoBear”.

In 2018 the studio plans to release “The God’s Office” – based on IPs it co-owns with Tencent, based on Chinese myth “Fengshen Yanyi” – followed by “More More Monsters” in 2019.

“Kung Food” concept art