• En

This is Sanlitun


A film by Robert I. Douglas

Premiered at Toronto 2013

Vimeo on Demand release, July 2nd 2014

Gary is in Beijing to make it big, after failing to impress his Chinese investors he soon takes up English teaching and life lessons from Frank, an incompetent mentor. Gary's real reasons for staying become apparent when his son and Chinese ex-wife enter the picture.

Genre(s): Comedy

• Theme(s): Alcohol / Bromance / Divorce / Expats / Humor / Mockumentary

Ask pro access

This is Sanlitun

  • Róbert Ingi Douglas


    Of Irish-Icelandic descent, Douglas has spent a considerable part of his life in Northern Ireland. His mother is Icelandic and is a retired civil servant and his Irish father is a geologist and teacher. As a young boy, his father would let him use his 8mm camera and later on, the family video camera, to make numerous short movies with his younger sister and friends, the first short being a sci-fi movie shot in a local quarry with a red filter over the lens called Life on Mars.

    He worked at a video rentals store before shooting his first feature film. The video store, Videoheimar in Reykjavik in his debut film.

    Douglas currently lives in Beijing, China, the setting of his latest movie THIS IS SANLITUN which is Douglas's first English language film.

    2005: Eleven Men Out
    2000: The Icelandic Dream

Festival(s) & Award(s)

  • 2013: Toronto International Film Festival (Canada) | Contemporary World Cinema
  • 2013: Tallin Black Nights Film Festival (Estonia)


A pair of hapless ex-pats discover that Beijing isn't the hotbed of entrepreneurial opportunity they had anticipated in this hilarious and timely look at the West's obsession with the East.

British sad sack Gary (Carlos Ottery) is a failed entrepreneur who has just arrived in Beijing's Sanlitun district, allegedly to start a business.

There are other reasons why he has uprooted himself -- he's followed his ex-wife and young son, for one -- but he soon finds out that China isn't the easiest place to succeed. Blissfully untouched by self-awareness, and only fitfully in tune with reality, Gary sallies forth to make money, armed with faith in himself and little to no knowledge of Chinese culture. He soon hooks up with Frank (Chris Loton), a trust-fund kid from Australia who offers to mentor Gary in Eastern ways, although Frank's pedagogical method is restricted to yelling at Gary for not being as "Chinese" as him.

Technical Specs

  • Runtimes: 94'
  • Color(s): Colors
  • Ratio: 1,77:1 (16/9)
  • Sound: Stereo
  • Country(ies) of production: China / Iceland
  • Original Language(s): English
  • Format(s) available: Bluray / DCP / DVD

Artistic & Technical Crew

With: Carlos Ottery, Ai Wan, Hu Gaoxiang, Christopher Loton, Cromwell Cheung
  • Screenplay: Róbert Ingi Douglas, Carlos Ottery, Christopher Loton
  • Cinematographer: Zuxiang Zhao
  • Editor: Róbert Ingi Douglas
  • Sound: Nick Cathcart-Jones
  • Music: Jordan Mitchell
  • Producer: Maureen Sherrard, Ai Wan, Hlín Jóhannesdóttir, Róbert Ingi Douglas

Company Credits

  • Produced by: Film Douglas, Vintage Pictures
  • Coproduced by: Ai Wan Entertainment