The first official co-production between China and Australia – The Dragon Pearl – is set to have its world co-premiere at the BigPond Adelaide Film Festival on Sunday.

The local screening of the film, directed by Emmy award-winning Adelaide filmmaker Mario Andreacchio, will coincide with the final leg of a massive promotional push in China.

On March 7, a 45-minute promotional event will be broadcast to an expected audience of more than 20 million across China ahead of the film’s release on more than 3500 screens.

The film follows teenagers Josh (Louis Corbett) and Ling (Li Lin Jin), who join their respective parents, Chris (Sam Neill) and Dr Li (Wang Ji) on an archaeological dig in China. However, they soon find a “monster” deep in a cave, which they soon realise is a mystical dragon that has lost its magical “pearl”, prompting a battle between good and evil.

All of the film’s post-production was completed in Adelaide by local companies Rising Sun Pictures and Convergen. The Dragon Pearl was co-produced by AMPCO Films in Adelaide and China company Hengdian World Studios.

BigPond Adelaide Film Festival director Katrina Sedgwick said: "This unique and extraordinary trailblazing effort with China is an indication of the diverse and imaginative filmmaking prowess developing in Adelaide."

Australian film Mao's Last Dancer  – which topped the local box office in 2009  – was filmed in China without official permission.

The BigPond Adelaide Film Festival paid for Brendan Swift's return flights from Sydney to Adelaide and six nights accommodation at the Hilton Hotel.

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