British Raindance Film Festival hosts China Day

By Sun Wei in London Source:Global Times Published: 2017/9/28 16:23:39

A panel discussion for the China Day event at the British Raindance Film Festival in London Photo: Sun Wei/GT

The British Raindance Film Festival held a China Day event on Monday in London in conjunction with Dreamax, a Beijing based production and distribution outfit.

The Raindance Film Festival is the largest and most important independent film festival in the UK. Now in its 25th year, it is based in the heart of London's buzzing West End film district.

The event offered a packed day of panel discussions on how filmmakers can access the Chinese market, how Chinese filmmakers can meet and work with their European partners, as well as discussions on how to work with talent. The festival also shared a special screening of Come Across Love, a co-production with Dreamax directed by Chinese director Chen Zhuo and distributed by US entertainment company Lionsgate.

Raindance founder Elliot Grove told the Global Times that China Day aims to give players in UK and China film industries the opportunity to interact with panelists who have a vast amount of experience.

"The challenges filmmakers in Britain and US face are that they need to understand the Chinese market and get access to the Chinese market," Grove said.

Michael Bao, the founder and CEO of Dreamax Media, told the Global Times, "We would like to further develop our film industry by reaching out through platforms like the Raindance Film Festival."

Bao said he values the festival because it's very professional.

"With in-depth academic exchanges and discussions, professionals in China's and Britain's film industries can interact with each other, and find cooperation opportunities," he added.

Golden era for Chinese movies

Bao told the Global Times that the past decade has witnessed China's film industry undergo rapid change, moving away from mass production to high quality production.

Over the past 15 years, China's film and TV industry infrastructure and production chain have also developed remarkably.

China has built 12 new large-scale comprehensive film and TV studios since 2003, including 120 of all types of professional film studios. Each soundstage studio is between 1,000-10,000 square meters in size, and have supporting facilities for make-up, costumes, props, offices, post production areas, supporting hotels and business centers.

"There are numbers of projects under construction or in the planning and designing stage. It is expected that by 2020, the number of professional studios in China will reach 200," said Kang Yuqing, an architect who has participated in the design and construction of most of the major film studios in China.

With ongoing urbanization and rising incomes, China's new generation of movie lovers are boosting the entertainment industry. The number of screens in China grew to 41,179 in 2016, slightly more than that of the US and Canada's 40,164 theaters. 

According to statistics from China's State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT), as of September 20, Wolf Warriors 2 earned more than 5.6 billion yuan ($841 million) at the mainland box office. Besides breaking several records and marking itself an unprecedented legend in film history, the film also demonstrates the potential box office capacity a single film can reach in China.

On March 1, China's Film Industry Promotion Law went into effect. With this law, the State encourages film technology R&D, establishes and improves the technical standards of the film industry, and establishes a film technological innovation system that focuses enterprise at its core.

China also has one of the most favorable government subsidies and tax policies in the world. Local governments such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangdong and Shandong have introduced various subsidies and preferential tax policies to encourage and attract investment in the film and television industry.

Huge potential

Apart from film production, Chinese filmmakers and technical experts in the industry brought a spirit of cooperation to the festival.

Grove told the Global Times, "We would like to import Chinese culture and export British culture. We would like to import Chinese movies, technical knowhow and export educational expertise. And the collection of movies we had here might be of interest to Chinese movie consumers."

The number of co-produced films in China has increased over the years. In 2016, there were 89 coproductions that screened in China.

International films with Chinese elements have a huge box-office potential in Chinese mainland. Take Transformers 4 for example, with its strong Chinese elements, the film earned $240 million in North America and $300 million in the Chinese mainland.

Judging from medium- and long-term perspectives, the Chinese box office still has a huge potential for growth. The average admission per person in China sits around 1, while in urban areas that number jumps to 2.

"Compared with the North American market where average admission per person is 4.2, the Chinese market still has great development prospects ahead," sai Lin Tianshu, an investment manager specializing in film and cultural investment.

SAPPRFT is gradually loosening controls for overseas investment regarding coproductions and FDI investment. The top five main coproduction partners are Hong Kong, Taiwan, the US, Japan and the UK.

China's abundant resources for film locations will enrich the global film industry, said Kang.

"China has a very long history and a vast territory. Its abundant and unique natural and cultural landscape resources can be used for outdoor scenes," he added.

Bao said that by gaining experience in Chinese coproduction and foreign film distribution in China, companies like Dreamax could bridge cultural and market gaps. Bao believes that it's time to go out and work with European partners to develop world-class movies.

Newspaper headline: Gaining access

Posted in: FILM

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