For over 35 years from the Amazon to Afghanistan, Mexico to Mongolia, Lesbos to Lebanon, Maya Vision International has made films to entertain, educate and inspire global audiences.
Our diverse range of documentaries bring history alive, celebrate great art and artists and explain a complex world for each new generation of viewers. Whether unearthing a people’s history of Britian, telling the story of China or following modern pilgrims on their sacred journeys, Maya Vision International is an industry leader and winner some of television’s top awards, many of which are with the acclaimed historian and broadcaster, Michael Wood.
Collegial and committed to great storytelling, we work with the best crews around the world both behind and on screen and we’re proud of having nurtured young talent to successful careers through our productions.
Across all media platforms, from broadcast television to theatrical to corporate and the web Maya Vision International’s programs are trusted and celebrated internationally.
Sir Ian McKellen reads the poetry, Michael Wood traces the journey on the ground. Together they conjure up the extraordinary life, times and words of China’s greatest poet, Du Fu.
From the Yellow River to the Yangtze Gorges, and down to the forested hills of Hunan, Michael Wood travels in the footsteps of China’s most-loved poet. Born in 712, the age of Beowulf in Britain, Du Fu lived through the violent fall of China’s brilliant Tang dynasty. As rebel armies sacked the capital, and floods and famine wrecked the country, he was forced to flee, taking his family on the roads as refugees.
But out of these events he produced what Harvard’s Stephen Owen calls ‘the greatest poems in the Chinese language’, words that ever since have been seen as an expression of what it means to be Chinese. ‘There is Dante, there’s Shakespeare, and there’s Du Fu,’ says Owen. ‘These poets create the very standard by which great poetry is judged.’ But though in the east Du Fu is an immortal, in the west, even today, few have even heard of him.
In this film, the first to ever be made about Du Fu in the west, Michael follows his tracks by road, train and riverboat. Along the way, he meets ordinary people, dancers and musicians, who help to tell the amazing story of a poet whose words have resonated through the centuries, describing the experiences of ordinary people caught up in war, corruption, famine and natural disasters. ‘I am one of the privileged. If my life is so bitter, then how much worse is the life of the common people?’
In China, poets have always been seen as the trusted chroniclers of the people’s hearts and the nation’s history. And for the Chinese, Du Fu is ‘more than a poet,’ says Wood. ‘For generations he has been the guardian of the moral conscience of the nation.’
The Story of China (6×60), is a landmark documentary series, written and presented by historian Michael Wood, exploring the history of the world’s oldest continuous state, from the ancient past to the present day.
Home to over a billion people, China is the new superpower, a country we all want to understand now, and Wood argues that to do so we have to look at its history. Traveling across the country he explores the landscapes, peoples, stories and cultures that have helped create China’s distinctive character and genius over more than four thousand year.
Journeying along the Silk Route, down the Grand Canal, and across the plain of the Yellow River, where Chinese civilisation began, Wood meets people from all walks of life, visiting China’s most evocative landscapes and exploring ancient cities like Xian, Nanjing and Hangzhou.
He’ll trace some of the great moments in Chinese history – from their extraordinary voyages of exploration before Columbus, to amazing scientific inventions before the European Renaissance: he’ll even show that the Chinese invented football!
A grand sweep narrative, full of big ideas and unexpected surprises, the series shows how the Chinese created their own distinctive vision of the world: a vision that is still alive in the 21st century and indeed, Wood argues, is the real motor behind the incredible and growing success of China today.
See the extensive PBS official website (made by us) featuring a comprehensive history of China timeline, dynastic maps, interactive games, photo gallery and a Q&A with Michael.
Broadcast on BBC in 2016 and PBS in 2017.
The BBC version is available to buy on iTunes and on DVD and the PBS version on Blu-ray or on DVD