Ann Hu’s valentine to the birth of cinema is set in China in 1902. It stars Jared Harris as Raymond Wallace, an itinerant motion picture exhibitor, and Xia Yu as a young photographer’s apprentice who becomes entranced with the Lumiere films that Wallace has brought to China. Xia Yu’s character is based on Liu Zhonglun, who shot Dingjun Mountain, considered China’s first movie. Celebrating the international language of cinema, the film also made history as the first China-Taiwan-German-U.S. co-production. Thierry Fremaux provided the Lumiere films to the production. After its Sundance premiere, Shadow Magic was acquired by Sony Pictures Classics. (New 4K restoration funded with support from the HFPA Trust. Ann Hu, and IndieCollect donors.)

“ This lovely film, loosely based on real events, transports us back to a pre-blockbuster time full of genuine promise.”

—Matt Brunson , The Film Frenzy