Mao’s Last Dancer, the movie based on Li Cunxin’s best selling autobiography, hit theaters in Australia this past weekend and set the record for biggest film opening of the year. Li is the guest speaker of the WITS 25th Anniversary Celebration, which will be held on November 5 at the Junior League of Houston. Seats are filling up fast for this special evening of memory, story, and power. Visit our website to purchase tickets and to learn more about this unique opportunity to support the children of Houston and their ability to tell their own inspirational stories.

Below is a copy of the media release by Roadshow Films and Hopscotch.mao's last dancer cover

Audiences have danced their way into cinemas in celebration of Mao’s Last Dancer’s opening day, making it the biggest Australian film opening for 2009 and the 5th biggest Australian film opening ever, grossing $514,458 on Thursday.

The success in Australia follows recent news that Mao’s Last Dancer proved an audience winner at the Toronto International Film Festival where it was runner up for the highly coveted People’s Choice Award won last year by “Slumdog Millionaire”.

Producer of Mao’s Last Dancer, Jane Scott commented: “Screenwriter Jan Sardi, director Bruce Beresford and I always hoped and believed that cinema audiences would embrace Mao’s Last Dancer. The film tells an incredible true story that we felt was irresistible. So we are absolutely delighted that Australian audiences have responded to the film with such passion and enthusiasm.”

Mao’s Last Dancer is the inspirational true story of a small boy’s extraordinary journey from poverty to international stardom. Filmed in China, the US and Australia and with a brilliant performance from Chi Cao as Li Cunxin, the film is an exhilarating exploration of what it means to be free.

Co-distributed by Roadshow Films and Hopscotch Films, Joel Pearlman Managing Director, Roadshow Films and Troy Lum, Managing Director Hopscotch Films agreed: “Mao’s Last Dancer is a film that Australian audiences have been waiting for. The outstanding opening day figures demonstrate that audiences are willing to rush out to cinemas for an Australian film that they want to see. The creative team of writer Jan Sardi, producer Jane Scott and director Bruce Beresford have done an outstanding job of bringing Li Cunxin’s best selling book to the screen. We are excited at the prospect of what is the start of an amazing journey for Mao’s Last Dancer.”

Mao’s Last Dancer, directed by twice Academy Award nominated and internationally acclaimed Australian film director Bruce Beresford (BREAKER MORANT, DRIVING MISS DAISY, TENDER MERCIES, BLACK ROBE etc), is a stunning adaptation by Academy Award nominated screenwriter, Jan Sardi (SHINE, THE NOTEBOOK, LOVE’S BROTHER) and features brilliant performances including Chi Cao (Principal Dancer at the Birmingham Royal Ballet), Bruce Greenwood (THE SWEET HEREAFTER, DOUPLE JEOPARDY, THIRTEEN DAYS, STAR TREK), Kyle MacLachlan (BLUE VELVET, DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES, TWIN PEAKS and SEX AND THE CITY) Jack Thompson (THE ASSASSINATION OF RICHARD NIXON, MIDNIGHT IN THE GARDEN OF GOOD AND EVIL), Aden Young (PARADISE ROAD, COUSIN BETTE), Amanda Schull (CENTER STAGE), Camilla Vergotis (Soloist at the Hong Kong Ballet), Chengwu Guo (The Australian Ballet), Shungbao Wang (BALZAC AND THE LITTLE CHINESE SEAMSTRESS, BLIND SHAFT) and Ferdinand Hoang (BLESSED, LITTLE FISH).

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