Martial arts movie legend Jackie Chan is to co-produce a Chinese movie partially filmed in Syria inspired by events surrounding Beijing's 2015 naval evacuation of Chinese and other foreign citizens from Yemen as the joint Saudi and UAE-led coalition launched its on-going war against the country, targeting the Houthi-allied armed forces who seized the capital, Sanaa, the year before.
Although Chan is the film's executive producer, there are reportedly no plans for him to visit Syria.
The movie, entitled Home Operation which is also produced by UAE-based Chinese filmmakers SYX Pictures was announced last year. At the time, director and co-producer Song Yinxi explained that "It is the one of few Arabic theme films in China, but it will be subtitled in English and Arabic, distributed worldwide in cinema and streaming websites."
"The pandemic has delayed the launching of this film, but in October, the shooting in will start in the UAE, then Lebanon and other Arabic countries. Hopefully we put it on air before summer 2022," added Song.
"Home Operation" movie produced by "Jackie Chan", was launched in al-Hajar al-Aswad neighbourhood in #Damascus.
Directed by Yinxi song.
It revolves around the emergency evacuation of Chinese citizens, and diplomats during the war in #Yemen in 2015. pic.twitter.com/bmFOsGi6e7
— Majd Fahd 🇸🇾 (@Syria_Protector) July 15, 2022
Song also stated that he hopes SYX Pictures will serve as a base for himself and the Chinese film industry in the MENA region.
According to AFP, Yemen as a filming location was deemed too dangerous with some scenes being shot in Syria's Hajar Al-Aswad, a former Daesh stronghold, located some four kilometres south of Damascus.
On Thursday, the ruins of Hajar Al-Aswad were "filled with a motley crew of actors in Yemeni tribal attire, Syrian extras in uniform and polo-wearing Chinese film crew members," the report noted.
Speaking at the launch of the Syria shoot, Song told reporters the movie takes the perspective of diplomats who are Communist Party members, who braved a hail of bullets in a war-torn country and safely brought all Chinese compatriots onto the country's warship unscathed."
China's ambassador to Damascus was also present at the launch, which is expected to take several days.
In 2018, a similar theme was the subject of the Chinese-Hong-Kong action war film called Operation Red Sea which was loosely based on the same evacuation involving over 600 Chinese nationals and more than 200 nationals of other countries from Yemen's southern port city of Aden. It was filmed in Morocco and described as "China's first modern naval film."