CHINA: The Panda Adventure
Presented on the spectacular giant IMAX® screen, CHINA: THE PANDA ADVENTURE is the true story of Ruth Harkness, a fiercely independent woman who travels to the mysterious forests of China to follow in her late husband's footsteps and achieve his dream of bringing the first live Giant Panda to America.
China, 1936. After her husband dies in the dense bamboo forests of China, Ruth McCombs Harkness (Maria Bello) leaves her flourishing fashion business in America and embarks on her own journey of self discovery. Ruth is intent on fulfilling her husband's dream of showing the world the true, gentle nature of the Giant Panda.
As her expedition makes its treacherous journey from Shanghai, up the Yangtze River, through the rugged Min Valley and into the isolated Wolong forests, Ruth must rely on her wits and her determination to survive as she races to find the mysterious creature before a band of trophy-hunting poachers.
This biographical adventure stars Maria Bello, best known for her leading role on ER as the passionate and headstrong pediatrician Dr. Anna Del Amico, and who is emerging as one of Hollywood's up and coming film stars. She co-starred in Permanent Midnight with Ben Stiller and Elizabeth Hurley, and with Mel Gibson in Paramount's Payback. Bello made her television debut as a series regular opposite Scott Bakula in the spy-adventure series, Mr. and Mrs. Smith. She will next appear in Jerry Bruckheimer's Coyote Ugly, which is set for release in August and in Duets which co-stars Gwynneth Paltrow.
Directed by noted documentary and feature filmmaker Robert Young (Dominick and Eugene, Ballad of Georgio Cortez) and produced by Antoine Compin and Charis Horton (T-REX: Back to the Cretaceous, Cirque du Soleil® /The Journey of Man) and executive produced by John Wilcox, CHINA: THE PANDA ADVENTURE was adapted for the screen by Jeanne Rosenberg (The Black Stallion) from the autobiography by Ruth Harkness.
CHINA: The Panda Adventure combines spectacular images of a foreign land and breathtaking scenes with Giant Pandas, with this incredible true story of hope, courage and triumph of the human spirit. Endorsed by World Wildlife Fund and the World-Famous San Diego Zoo, the film will be released on the giant IMAX screen late summer, 2001.
RESFEST kicks-off in San Francisco on September 7th, then travels to Seattle (September 14 - 17), London (September 28 - 30), Chicago (October 5 - 7), Montreal (October 12 - 15), New York (October 18 - 21), Los Angeles (November 1 - 5), Seoul (November 16 - 19), Tokyo (November 24 - 26), and Osaka (December 2 - 3).
Maria Bello now starring in...
Day Job: Played Dr. Anna Del Amico on ER, Mrs. Smith on short-lived espionage series Mr. & Mrs. Smith and Ben Stiller's junkie friend in the movie Permanent Midnight. Actually tended bar for a number of years.
What's a Nice Girl Like Her Doing in a Place Like This? Lil owns the all-female-operated Coyote Ugly Saloon. She thinks it's good training for young women to follow their dreams by removing their bras and gyrating atop a bar before hordes of sweaty, howling males.
The Morning After: "When I see the trailers for the film, I'm like, Oh my God! There's so many tits. Whose are they? 'Cause only one of us has them. You see them sliding down the bar to the music, just to get everyone excited. Believe it or not, there's a real story to this movie...though you do see a lot of hot girls dancing as well."
From: E! Online|
July 24, 2000
Ex-ER doc Maria Bello explores China:The Panda AdventureBello toplines the Imax project as Ruth Harkness, a 1930s New York dress designer who travels to China to recover her dead husband's ashes and bring the first panda to the West. Director Robert M. Young has already started lensing in China.