Chris D. Nebe, the Creator of the Mysterious China Series and Advocate for Cultural Exchange, Has Died at the Age of 83.
Internationally-acclaimed and award-winning producer, Chris D. Nebe, died on June 30 after a courageous battle with cancer. Born in 1937 in what is now Poland, Nebe was an 8-year-old aristocratic refugee of WWII. With his mother and brother, the family of three fled the advancing Russian army, escaping death narrowly more than once.
In his 20s and 30s Nebe opened his lifelong company, Monarex, and became a unique success by dubbing and distributing over 150 U.S. independent films in Germany including films by Ron Howard, Roger Corman, Paul Bartel, Kaneto Shindo and Jonathan Demme. His greatest box-office hit was Cannonball, starring the late David Carradine. He had learned the film business from his uncle in New York.
Years later, after sensing that the distribution of independent films would struggle to be profitable, Chris moved Monarex to Hollywood in 1978. Nebe quickly produced several independent projects, including a cult classic, Heartbreaker. Chris saw his greatest critical success with The Inheritors, which was an Official Selection of the Cannes Film Festival and, among other international awards, received the Jury Award of the Montreal Film Festival.
As a firm believer in the ancient philosophies of Lao Tzu and Confucius, Chris has always had a great interest in Asia and had traveled the region extensively. For many years he cultivated relationships in China that would later put him in a position to live a life long dream and make films about the epic cultural heritage of China.
Chris famously created the Mysterious China Series, which showcases the epic cultural heritage of China to the Western world. The films cover important historical and contemporary topics including the Diaoyu Island dispute, China’s incredible technological advancement, and the rich cultures across China.
In 2006, Chris partnered with J.J. Osbun, a young filmmaker at the time. Over 15 years they developed the Mysterious China Series into nearly 20 titles. The two have worked together with talented Chinese producers from Beijing to Kunming.
The day before his passing, Chris released his final statement: “I have loved China all my life. China is the future. China is the 21st Century. Thank you for opening your doors to us. I am now going to the other world and I will look after you. I am passing the torch to J.J. Osbun to continue to create bridges between China and the West. Goodbye my friends.”
Monarex is in post production with Chris’s final project, Buddhism – The Ancient Wisdom. Osbun is now president of Monarex, continuing the 50-year legacy of Chris through both documentary and feature film production.
Chris believed in the concept of peace and harmony and that mankind deserves empathetic and caring leaders. He is survived by his younger brother, and many loving relatives around the world. Surrounded by friends, Chris D. Nebe passed away with his trademark wink and a smile.
Chris D. Nebe
Chris D. Nebe & J.J. Osbun
The World of Liu Yuyi, 2015 (J.J. Osbun, center)
China Net – An Economic Miracle, 2016 in TongGuan (Chris D. Nebe, Right)
Jiangsu – Land of Good Fortune, 2012 (J.J. Osbun)