The Champion of Web Films — The Ferryman · Manjusaka
The Ferryman · Manjusaka is jointly produced by Beijing Perfect Jianxin Film and Television Culture Co. Ltd., Beijing iQiyi Technology Co. Ltd., and Beijing Perfect Film and Television Media Co. Ltd, with Guo Jingyu leading as the artistic director, Xiao Ji Xiang Tian as the screenwriter, Ju Xingmao as the directer and Yu Yi, He Hua, Wang Ruichang, Yue Lina, Ni Hongjie, Ju Xingmao, and Lu Jiani as the cast members of this fantasy web film. As the first web film of the classic IP, The Ferryman series, The Ferryman · Manjusaka was carefully created by the original production team. It was launched on iQiyi’s network on February 2018.
On May 2017, after broadcasting three seasons and announcing the “end” of the web drama series, The Ferryman, once again became the focus of the online film and television industry. Fan Waitie held a grand opening ceremony in Huairou, Beijing, for its sequel, The Ferryman · Manjusaka. Artistic Director, Guo Jingyu, said at the opening ceremony that he will make the series a new benchmark in the Web Market. The iQiyi executives also expressed great expectations on this work. Gong Yu, the founder and CEO of iQiyi, said: “This is the first time that I have participated in an opening ceremony of a work, I wish this show will become a symbolic work among the web films and a very outstanding and widely-circulated work.”
After many days of intense shooting, The Ferryman · Manjusaka has officially come to a wrap on June 19. Xiao Ji Xiang Tian, who believes in teamwork and insists on ingenuity said, “the main set built for this film and the pure shooting cost is already equivalent to the investment of two ordinary web films, the special effects would subsequently incur yet another large sum of money, and these are not inclusive of the music, promotional materials and etc. We shot only 2 pages of script a day and yet our working hours exceeded 15 hours each day; this is absolute craftsmanship with no compromises made thus far.”
The Ferryman · Manjusaka is different from the original drama series. In the web film, The Ferryman · Manjusaka, Xiao Ji Xiang Tian utilizes his profound oriental aesthetics to tell the story of a woman’s pursuit of love, a woman who is gentle and delicate yet beautiful and tragic.
Manjusaka is a sea of sand, lonely and desolate, with no flowers nor leaves. As the next Mengpo of Manjusaka, Sanqi is assigned by Ah Cha the Hades to marry a ghost named Zhao Li. Qiqi has an innocent personality but with a withered appearance and is often rejected by Zhao Li. She lives alone in a vacant and run-down house called the “Meng Po Zhuang”. Until one day, a little boy named Changsheng, who is a fairy in essence, charges into “Meng Po Zhuang” by chance. He enters “Meng Po Zhuang” and meets Sanqi for the first time. Years later, upon reaching adulthood, he comes back to “Meng Po Zhuang” again and falls in love with Sanqi. He is obsessed with love, willing to give up his soul to win her, and to wait thousands of years for her.
This web film still proceeds with the central idea of “love never dies,” an idea that runs throughout this franchise, showcasing the tragedy and irony, earning buckets of tears. In addition to starring the original protagonist from the original drama series, this version introduces fresh blood as the film unlocks a new character, Meng Po. Whether is it the beautiful Meng Qi (Yue Lina) or the innocent silly girl San Qi (He Hua), they have completely overturned the aging and gloomy image of Meng Po in previous film and television works. The film is based on the love story of Sanqi and Changsheng, which intertwined the two Yin and Yang realms, and integrates multiple elements such as friendship, betrayal, conspiracy, morality and etc, which thereby increases the suspense of the film. This film has many unexpected twists and turns, which also adds to the overall plot.
The Ferryman · Manjusaka had a good harvest at the box office, with over 300 million hits and over 47 million views. More than 80,000 netizens have commented on Douban, and its Douban score has stabilized at 7.1, making it the leader in the web film circle.
As the benchmark of the web film industry in 2018, The Ferryman · Manjusaka won the Shanghai International Film Festival Internet Film and Television Summit, Power List in the Golden Seagull New Media Film and Television Week, Golden Dolphin Award and many other awards on several platforms such as Digital Entertainment, Golden Bone Duo and etc; more than 25 awards have been awarded in total. This time round, it was once again promoted as the ‘Quality Web Film’ at the 1st China Online Movie Week, which proved that only works with quality content and sincerity can withstand the test of audience and time.