eBay-Alibaba Battle for China Market Chronicled in New Documentary Film, ‘Crocodile in the Yangtze’

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Award-Winning Documentary Heads to Vancouver International Film Festival for International Premiere

Jack Ma (Alibaba Group Founder and Chairman) and Porter Erisman (Former Alibaba Group executive and Director of the new independent documentary film 'Crocodile in the Yangtze'.) Photo taken 2006.

Fresh off the heels of winning both the Jury and Audience Awards for “Best Documentary” at the San Francisco United Film Festival, a new film, Crocodile in the Yangtze: The Story of a Westerner Inside China’s Alibaba.com, will hold its International Premiere at the Vancouver International Film Festival which begins tomorrow. An independent documentary written, directed and produced by a former insider at China’s Alibaba Group, Crocodile in the Yangtze takes audiences behind-the-scenes of the Chinese Internet startup that challenged – and beat – eBay in China.

Drawing on over 200 hours of footage filmed by 35 different sources between 1994-2009, Crocodile in the Yangtze follows China’s first Internet entrepreneur and former English teacher, Jack Ma, as he grows his company, Alibaba Group, from a small apartment into China’s first global Internet company. A strikingly candid portrait of Ma and his company, told from the personal perspective of “an American fly on a Chinese wall,” the film captures the successes and mistakes Ma’s team encountered at a time when the Internet brought China face-to-face with the West.

The film provides a rare behind-the-scenes look at China’s Internet revolution and the social, economic and political conflicts brought about by the Internet’s rise in China. Featuring appearances by former Yahoo CEO, Jerry Yang, former EBay CEO Meg Whitman (now CEO of Hewlett-Packard) and former US President Bill Clinton, the film reveals China’s unique entrepreneurial culture and the strategies used by Alibaba to defeat eBay in China. The International Premiere of Crocodile in the Yangtze comes just weeks after Alibaba Group was forecast to process more sales in 2012 than eBay and Amazon.com combined.

Starting with its sold-out debut at the Sonoma International Film Festival this April, Crocodile in the Yangtze has traveled to eight US film festivals in 2012, garnering several awards and critical acclaim along the way. Living In Cinema calls the film “A compelling and thought provoking look at the changing modern world.” Eric Markowitz of Inc. Magazine calls the film, “Gripping…Emotional…It’s like the real-life version of The Social Network. Only in Mandarin!” Out of a pool of 380 films, Crocodile in the Yangtze was one of five documentaries recommended by Vancouver Magazine in this year’s VIFF preview.

“I’m thrilled to bring Crocodile in the Yangtze to Vancouver for its International Premiere,” said Porter Erisman, the film’s director and founder of Taluswood Films, which produced the documentary in collaboration with Purple Reel Productions. “I created Crocodile in the Yangtze to share an inspiring story that can help deepen understanding between people in China and the West. With its strong connections to Asia, Vancouver is a natural springboard from which to launch Crocodile in the Yangtze globally. It’s especially meaningful to show Crocodile in the Yangtze in Vancouver because the film’s post-production was done nearby in Whistler, my adopted ‘home away from home.’”

To view the film’s trailer and learn more about the film, visit http://www.crocodileintheyangtze.com.

Primary screening (filmmaker will be in attendance for Q&A):
--October 11th, 6:15PM, Empire Granville 4
Additional screenings:
--September 29, 4:30PM, Empire Granville 6
--October 12, 2:30 PM, Empire Granville 4


University of Washington’s Entrepreneurship Week
Monday, October 15, 2012, 5:30-7:30 PM
Shansby Auditorium, Paccar Hall 192
Event is free and open to the public

USC U.S.-China Institute – USC Cinematic Arts (Joint Screening)
October 19, 2012, 3:00 P.M.

Oaxaca, Mexico
November 8-17, 2012
Venue & Details: to be announced October 8, 2012

For media inquiries or to request a screening, contact:
Porter Erisman
Director, Crocodile in the Yangtze
Founder, Taluswood Films
Email: portererisman(at)yahoo(dot)com
Phone: +1-347-325-0929

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