Co-productions key to moving Chinese filmmaking forward

By Liao Danlin Source:Global Times Published: 2013-10-29 19:03:01

European Nights, a special event sponsored by the Beijing First Film Festival, now in its sixth year, and the Beijing College Student Film Festival, drew to a close on Wednesday.

This year brought a special cooperation with two international partners from France: Cannes' Director's Fortnight and Premiers Plans.

Films included artistic features from around the world, such as Fogo (2012) from Mexico, French film Camille Rewinds (2012) and The King of Pigs (2011) from South Korea.

But it's not all about the screenings. Film festivals provide fertile grounds for filmmakers and producers hoping to make new connections. Searching for possible co-production projects was particularly popular this year.

During a conference on the film market and co-productions held last Friday, Jérôme Paillard, executive director of the Cannes Film Festival Market, spoke about the potential of the Chinese market.

He pointed out that while the Chinese market is limited in the number of films that can be imported every year and by its censorship process, he finds that China has an open heart and international audiences are very curious about the country.

What China lacks, though, he said, is a pool of experienced producers to draw from for bigger projects. That's where co-productions come in.

Wang Yu, a producer and also director of Guangyan Shidai (Beijing) Media Co., Ltd added that it was in 2003 that private production companies were finally allowed to shoot their own films. Most films in the past were made by State-owned film studios.

"Thus, it takes a bit of time for producers to fully understand not only the fundraising process but also distribution and marketing," said Wang, who has been involved in about 30 co-productions, mostly with European partners.

Chinese filmmakers are making strides. For instance, Song Chuan, director of Huan Huan (2011) is working on a French, Chinese mainland and Taiwanese co-production. The majority of the funds came from the French National Center of Cinematography.

Song said the opportunity was a result of him pitching to potential partners during the Cannes Film Festival.

"Co-productions might fit into both markets in the two countries," Wang noted.

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