Zhang Zhao, the former CEO and chairman of Le Chuang Entertainment, previously known as Le Vision Pictures, died of cancer on Wednesday. He was 58.
Known as a businessman with an artist’s temperament, Zhang was one of the most influential executives in the Chinese film industry thanks to a storied career in which he laid the foundation for much of China’s film industry as it stands today. He successively founded and led Enlight Pictures in 2006 and Le Vision Pictures in 2011, going on to sign a roster of big-name directors to the latter that included Zhang Yimou, Lu Chuan, Tsui Hark and Guo Jingming.
As a producer, he was best known for his work on Zhang Yimou’s Matt Damon-starring US-China co-production “The Great Wall,” family drama “Coming Home,” and arthouse actioner “Shadow,” as well as Guo’s infamous, lucrative saga of the young and beautiful, “Tiny Times.”
“I was shocked to hear as we finished shooting that Zhang Zhao had passed away, and can’t help but grieve! The last time I saw him before leaving Beijing, I was still listening to him speak passionately about movie projects – it’s as if it were just yesterday!” wrote director Zhang Yimou on social media through his studio’s official account.
“Zhang Zhao was a person who truly loved cinema; every time I spoke with him we’d talk movies. Tragically, those lofty aspirations still remained, but his great goals were never fulfilled… Go well, Zhang Zhao, I think that you’ll be talking about movies every day in another world and doing the things you love best.”
More to come…