Experiencing the recovery of China's film and TV industry at Hengdian
Published: Oct 29, 2023 08:09 PM
The 24th China Film Promotion Conference held in Hengdian, East China's Zhejiang Province Photo: Courtesy of Hengdian Film and TV Festival

The 24th China Film Promotion Conference held in Hengdian, East China's Zhejiang Province Photo: Courtesy of Hengdian Film and TV Festival

There is no sign of autumn in Hengdian as the temperature is still as hot as it is in summer. Businesses at the local film and TV production base, the world's largest, are just as hot. 

The small town in East China's Zhejiang Province came under the spotlight as the 24th China Film Promotion Conference and the First Film Fair was held there recently. 

The healthy ecosystem and development of China's film industry as well as strong confidence from production companies and film insiders were apparent at the events. A total of 160 films were discussed at the promotional conference, which included not only those now under screening in theaters like Volunteers: Xiongbing Attack and soon-to-be-released films such as The Movie Emperor and The Goldfinger, but also those still in production or post-production like The Journey of a Legendary Landscape Painting as well as imported ones like director Christian Volckman's The Room and Russian film The Snow Queen and the Princess. 

The year 2023 has witnessed the strong recovery of China's film and TV industry, which was hit hard by the pandemic. To date, the annual movie box office of the year 2023 has reached 49.13 billion yuan ($6.71 billion), exceeding the entire year of 2021. 

What's more, the films released during the Spring Festival holidays, summer season and the National Day holiday period have received good reviews due to their various themes, solid action and good stories.

At Hengdian World Studios, young 20-something Miao just got his actor certificate from the Hengdian Actors Guild. He and 130,000 other people are trying their luck at the production base, in the hopes of becoming a professional actor or even a star. 

Not far away, some people holding photos of popular star Wang Hedi waited outside a street, where a scene for a TV series which Wang is featured, was under way and well-protected by a wall of black cloth.

Similar scenes could be seen here and there at Hengdian World Studios, which produces one-fourth of China's film productions, one-third of China's TV series and two-thirds of costume dramas. A total of more than 80,000 films and TV drama episodes have been "born" in Hengdian since its establishment in 1996, which has 32 film and TV sub-bases and over 130 studios with sets covering dynasties from the Spring and Autumn Period (770BC-476BC) to the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties. 

From January to September, Hengdian welcomed 470 film and TV crews. In Hengdian, there was an "old saying" that no matter how big your film will be, what you need to bring here are only the director and main cast as you can solve other problems all in Hengdian, from extras to technique staff. 

Walking along the streets, you won't believe it is only a small town with endless ad boards on film and TV industry, like post productions, equipment rental and special effects, which was redolent of the "Hollywood." 

Inside a studio, a mini drama was performed for the short video sites like TikTok or Douyin as the Global Times reporter was told that half million users were waiting online for their show. 

Movie is the magic of light and shadow and brings joy and sorrow that people experience in life. Story of Hengdian has a good start and now continues its legend as we all believe that a bright future lies in chasing dreams. 

Hengdian is a place where people can do and achieve incredible things. The film and TV industry is a blue ocean. We hope that Hengdian can swim deeper into that blue expanse and paint a new picture with the art of light and shadow.