BRADFORD City of Film will today announce ambitious plans to work with the fast-growing Chinese film industry on a modern re-working of Bronte classic Jane Eyre.

Bradford is establishing close links with China, helping Qingdao to become the country’s first UNESCO City of Film in 2017. Now Bradford City of Film plans to build a stronger role in Chinese film production, set to have a wider impact on tourism in the district.

This year is the 10th anniversary of Bradford becoming the world’s first UNESCO City of Film. Tonight, at a Science Museum event in London, Bradford City of Film director David Wilson will reveal how the team, and the Bronte Parsonage Museum, have been working with Chinese film producers on turning Jane Eyre into a “contemporary script for a modern global audience”.

Mr Wilson, who last year took Chinese film-makers to the Parsonage Museum and Haworth, said it is hoped the film will be shot in Qingdao, China, and the Bradford district, taking in Brontë landmarks. He said the project reflects China’s fascination with the Brontes and the growing relationship between British and Chinese film.

“Jane Eyre is hugely popular in China, ever since an abridged version published in 1925 in Shanghai,” said Mr Wilson. “Since Jane Eyre’s arrival in China almost 100 years ago there have been many readings of the complex novel - from feminist manifesto to a history of colonialism - and numerous adaptations in books, operas, plays and films. The novel is a staple text in China’s schools. “

The 1970 TV adaptation of Jane Eyre, starring Susannah York and George C Scott, was dubbed into Chinese but not screened there until 1979 when it was an instant hit with audiences and the Press. Mr Wilson said: “The huge enthusiasm from producers in talks with Bradford City of Film suggests that the market is ripe for another re-telling of the story in a very contemporary way.”

He added: “We are so fortunate to have such a rich literary heritage on our doorstep. Jane Eyre is a Chinese as well as an English heroine, and this project reflects that. The making of a film like this would benefit our district in so many ways, shining a spotlight on the city and moorland locations and attracting the growing phenomenon of screen tourism.”

Last year a Bradford City of Film office was set up in Qingdao, and the University of Bradford has been working with the Qingdao University of Science and Technology to develop a jointly taught degree in animation.

Tonight’s event sees the British Library sharing material from its Chinese online learning resource Discovering Literature, part of international collaboration The British Library in China: Connecting Through Culture and Learning. Over the past two years this has brought literary treasures, including the original manuscript fair copy of Jane Eyre, to China for the first time. Jamie Andrews, Head of Culture and Learning at the British Library, said: “This project demonstrates the cultural connections between the UK and China, and the value of exchange and dialogue. We’re delighted that this is sparking ideas and creativity.”