Local filmmakers anticipate the World television premiere of their documentary "Man Zou: Beijing to Shanghai"

a film about a 1,000 mile bike journey through China

Man Zou: Beijing to Shanghai", the highly anticipated follow up from the creators of the critically acclaimed, award-winning documentary "Sonicsgate: Requiem For A Team," is set to premiere on Northwest PBS affiliate KCTS 9 on Thursday.

The film will air as part of the Reel NW series, a weekly KCTS 9 series that focuses on the best independent film from the Northwest.

The filmmakers are Jason Reid, Ian Connors, Darren Lund and Adam Brown, some of whom grew up right here in North Seattle.

They saw previous success with their documentary “Sonicsgate” which exposes the shocking scandal behind the sale and relocation of the Seattle SuperSonics NBA franchise to Oklahoma City.

However, filmed in 2008, Man Zou was their first feature documentary.

“This is actually our first feature documentary and we decided to go all-in. No matter what, we were going to make it happen,” said director Jason Reid. “It was kind of a big risk but we wanted to be there right after the Olympics.”

The Seattle City Artist Grant and other donations helped them to round up the necessary funds and three weeks after the Olympics, the team started their adventure.

"Man Zou" follows Reid, his three American friends and their Chinese guide as they bicycle more than 1,000 miles between China's two largest cities, Beijing and Shanghai. Their journey provides the framework for both a bike adventure film and an in-depth examination of the cultural, social, economic and environmental factors affecting this rapidly changing nation. Man Zou captures an intimate and unfiltered look at this dynamic country, its people and their culture.

“It was about demystification,” said cinematographer Ian Connors. “We didn’t know anything about China except for what we see on the news.”

Reid added that going into the project their intention were to “get a broad overview of what’s going on in China. To have an environmental focus and to understand the relationship between our two nations better. Maybe we can even inspire people to have adventures.”

“Man Zou” is a common phrase in Mandarin that translates to “Walk Slow”. By exploring China on two wheels, traveling at 15 mph and taking the time to learn from those they encounter along the way, the filmmakers discover an authentic side of China that tourists rarely get to experience.

“Some of these places we came across, the people hadn’t seen foreigners for years if ever,” said Reid. “We definitely turned some heads being 4 white guys on bicycles with big side panniers.”

Along the way they ate traditional food including China’s most infamous dish.

“We were early on in the trip and we hadn’t yet started to ask what we were eating,” said Connors.

“Until one night we had something that looked like pork and was pretty good but when we asked our guide in conversation what it was, he said dog. We had eaten donkey the day before so Jason asked if he meant donkey but he said, no, dog. It actually tasted pretty good but we learned to ask what we were eating beforehand.”

“The only time we got sick was around the midpoint of our journey,” said Reid who explained that they ate at KFC -- the first non-Asian food that trip and the only one that made them sick.

In additional to their adventure, the documentary also features exclusive interviews with noted environmental leader Ma Jun and China urbanization specialist Kam Wing Chan.

The 86-minute documentary airs at 10:00 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 2 on KCTS 9.
Following its television premiere, "Man Zou: Beijing to Shanghai" will be available to view on-demand for one week through local cable providers and online for one month via the KCTS website.

For more information, please visit the official movie website: www.manzoumovie.com

We encourage our readers to comment. No registration is required. We ask that you keep your comments free of profanity and keep them civil. They are moderated and objectionable comments will be removed.