Tibet Animation ‘Land of Mercy’ Launches Armand Assante Alexander Wraith

Production is underway on “Land of Mercy,” an English-language animated feature film set in Tibet. The story sees a young man embark on a quest for Buddhist enlightenment which was his dying father’s dying wish.

Its voice cast includes Armand Assante (HBO’s “Gotti”), Alexander Wraith (“The Mandalorian”) and Louis Mandylor (“Debt Collector”) as well as Singaporean stage actor Adrian Pang.

The $3 million picture is written, directed and produced by Tan Keng Leck, director of Singapore-based Hwallywood Studio, and adapted from a well-known novel by Fan Wen. Animation production is handled by Indonesian co-producer MSV (“Battle of Surabaya”).

Production is due to be completed by the middle of next year, with the film due out in October 2023. No sales agent or distribution channel has yet been announced.

Fan Wen is a China-based author who identifies as Catholic and has completed 15 works of literature. He reportedly spent ten years writing his “Tibet Trilogy” (“Harmonious Land,” “Land of Mercy,” and “Canticle to the Land”) about the lives of people on the fringes of Yunnan, Szechuan, and Tibet. “The novel series reflects the integration of multiple minorities, religions and civilizations,” says publisher Simon & Schuster. Fan’s novels have been widely translated and published around the world.

“It’s the most dramatic of the three novels,” Tan said. Variety. “But we only used some of the material from the book and can consider a sequel based on other parts of ‘Land of Mercy’. It’s truly an epic.” Tan was previously an editor and helped with the book’s English translation and distribution.

Louis Mandylor backstage at ‘Land of Mercy’.
Kompin Kemgumnird

“We’ve been in pre-production for two years already, with the character designs and storyboard already complete. And we have all the voice parts now recorded, except for Armand Assante who plays a Lama,” Tan said. , explaining the relatively short time envisaged for physical production.

Other key roles have also been assigned. The animation director is Kompin Kemgumnird (animator on “Atlantis: The Lost Empire” and director of “Blue Elephant”); art director and concept artist is Tod Polson (colorist on “The Secret of Kells”) and musical score by Ricky Ho (“Beyond Beauty: Taiwan from Above”, “Seediq Bale”).

While the co-producers have yet to appoint a sales agent, Tan says he envisions the film getting a theatrical release in much of Asia. Whether it can be broadcast in mainland China, where religion, Tibet and the Dalai Lama are all sensitive topics, remains moot. While some Hollywood figures, including Richard Gere, Brad Pitt and Keanu Reeves, have all been rejected by Chinese authorities after speaking out for Tibet, Fan Wen’s works have been published in the country. “Animation might be an easier prospect than a live-action movie, but we’re not assuming anything about China, so if we get a release there, that’ll be a bonus,” Tan said.

Hwallywood presents “Land of Mercy” as a story based on Eastern Tibet in the region of Kham, where the greatest mystics, most cunning merchants and most notorious bandits in all of Tibet dwell. Its synopsis for the film reads: “The story begins in the 1920s in the picturesque valley village of Langsa, and follows the trials and tribulations of two rival families living on opposite sides of the river, the family Kunga and the Langsa Clan After the death of his father, Alaxi, the youngest son of the Kunga family, embarks on a long and arduous spiritual journey to fulfill his father’s dying wish and spiritual prophecy of attaining enlightenment. Against the backdrop of the looming threat of the Chinese Red Army, Alaxi rallies the two rival families to keep the peace.The story combines many Buddhist beliefs and a mystical fable unique to Tibetan Buddhism.