The Language of Chinese Currency Makes for a Provocative Main Title by Imaginary Forces

The Language of Chinese Currency Makes for a Provocative Main Title by Imaginary Forces

All eyes are on China with the opening of the Olympics this summer and its emergence as an economic superpower. Design and production company Imaginary Forces (IF) created the main titles for "People's Republic of Capitalism," a four-part documentary in the Koppel On Discovery series that focuses on China's new role in the world.

The program shatters stereotypes about China, dismissing the old-fashioned idea of a dull drab Communism and showing modern China as the "Wild Wild East" -- an engine of economic growth moving at breakneck speed. What is happening in China affects us here in the US and globally. The futures of both countries are undeniably intertwined.

Spearheaded by creative director Karin Fong, "People's Republic of Capitalism" is the 6th show that IF has done for Koppel On Discovery. The title sequence is an explosion of China chic -- lush, intricate and colorful engravings, inspired by Chinese money, tweaked with symbols of present-day industry, fashion, and culture. In his review of the China series, Tom Shales of The Washington Post writes, "The extremely handsome animated opening credits are worth noting..."

"We brought the results of nearly a year of research, reporting and production on our China project to Karin Fong and the Imaginary Forces team," says Peter Demchuk, a producer for Koppel on Discovery. "And we offered a title we hoped would capture a sense of the transformation and contradiction we discovered there. Karin came up with 45 seconds of visual poetry that sums up perfectly our four-hour documentary series. Both elegantly simple and richly layered, the sequence creates the perfect frame for our program, but stands alone as its own remarkable piece of work."

IF partnered again with Composer Cliff Martinez, who also scored the Koppel On Discovery documentaries "Price of Security" and "Breaking Point," as well as the feature film "Solaris." To capture modern China, Martinez gave the theme some distinctive Asian touches with five-tone melodies, industrial-electronica elements and a touch of Hendrix.

"What's so inspiring about working with Peter [Demchuk], Tom [Bettag]

and the entire Koppel Group is their consistent passion for the material and its rich complexity," comments Fong. "Using Mao on the dollar bill for the final image was an idea that immediately popped into mind. It just seemed right to mash up one of the strongest icons of the Chinese system with one of the strongest symbols of the US and of capitalism. The visual provoked an immediate reaction from the Koppel Group; after all, the program is meant to provoke. Controversial opinions are okay, even desired -- much preferred over apathy."

Peoples Republic of Capitalism 01

"I've been doing this for 40 years, been EP on over more than four thousand broadcasts, and I haven't worked with anyone as good in this field as Imaginary Forces," concludes Tom Bettag, Executive Producer of The Koppel Group for Discovery Networks. "Over the last two years we have established a level of trust with Karin that is hard to match. We news people say that journalism is the profession of the vaguely talented. What Karin and her colleagues do... that's talent!"

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