Taipei (AsiaNews) - The Kuangchi Program Service (KPS) is launching a television film-documentary in four parts on the Italian Jesuit artist Giuseppe Castiglione (郎世宁, 1688-1766). The working title is "Giuseppe Castiglione in China-Imperial Painter, Humble Servant" (郎世宁 在 中国 - 谦卑 服务 的 帝国 画师). It is due to be distributed and re-broadcast throughout the vast territory of China, by Chinese Central TV (CCTV, 中央 电视台) and other broadcasters in China.
The KPS is a television production company founded in 1958 by the American Father Phillip Bourret (卜立辉 神父). KPS in Chinese is called Guangqishe (光启 社) and named after Paul Xu Guangqi (徐光启, 1562-1633), the Chinese friend of Matteo Ricci, whose beatification process has been opened.
Jessica Zhuang (庄 社长), president of the production company, said: " KPS production has always been particularly focused on children and education, especially when Taiwan was a poor society and there' was high illiteracy among farmers 'children. Father Bourret began with a radio station in a shack, then we became pioneers in the TV, the first on the island. The majority of the presenters and TV producers now operating in Taiwan were formed by us. "
"Ten years ago, a new possibility opened up, namely to produce programs for the biggest television in the world in terms of audience: the Chinese Central Television," says father Jerry (丁松筠 神父) who has worked for over thirty years in Chinese television programs, a well-known on screen English teacher and vice president of KPS. "We thought we would slowly die out instead we are starting a new 'golden age' of unimaginable proportions. For each production, the estimates are of 200 million television viewers, not counting DVD and internet. And the people here are really happy to be involved in the projects, just look at the success of this latest fundraising. "
KPS in partnership with Jiangsu Broadcasting Corporation (JBC, 江苏 电视台) Nanjing has previously produced two documentary series, aired repeatedly and widely covered by China Central Television, the television station in Jiangsu, by Jishi, channel documentaries Shanghai, Singapore by Television, Canadian channel Salt and Light, etc.. The four-part series Xu Guangqi-China's Man for All Seasons (see photo), and the two-part series Adam Schall von Bell-In the Service of the Emperors, on the figure of the German Jesuit Adam Schall von Bell (汤若望) tutor to the young Emperor Shunzhi (顺治 帝), as wellgarnering a vast audience has also collected a large number of national and regional awards for top-level production quality. Both series were also distributed on DVD and the Internet.
These documentaries are innovative events for the Church in China, presenting the Chinese missionary efforts of Matteo Ricci, Xu Guangqi and Adam Schall at the end of the Ming Dynasty and early Qing Dynasty on National Television for the first time. These docu-dramas vividly portrayed the stories of Jesuit scholars and scientists, with their Chinese friends and associates that made an outstanding contribution to the cultural and scientific progress of China and the growth of the nascent Chinese Catholic Church.
Fr. Jerry concludes: "While the majority of Chinese knows the names of Ricci, Xu and Shall, and can have a vague idea of their role in Chinese history, few people are aware of their religious motivations. These documentaries instead support a real, and as far as possible, complete picture of the best examples of the initial missionary activity of the Jesuits in China. We believe that these products have been successful in correcting and improving the perception that the majority have of the Chinese Catholic missionary activity. "
If everything continues on schedule filming the docu-drama of Castiglione is expected to begin in January, between Milan and Beijing, and it is estimated that post-production will end in early 2014.