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BERLINALE 2016 Market

An optimistic outlook for Chinese-European co-productions at Berlin


- BERLIN 2016: The EFM celebrates the success of the Sino-European Production Seminar, for selected European producers who are developing feature-film projects with China

An optimistic outlook for Chinese-European co-productions at Berlin
The Sino-European Production Seminar at the EFM (© Christian Lima Dehne)

On Wednesday 17 February, the European Film Market and Bridging the Dragon, in cooperation with Movie View, successfully wrapped the first Sino-European Production Seminar for selected European producers who are developing feature-film projects with China. The 42 participants came from Austria, China, Denmark, France, Germany, Finland, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain and the UK, looking to forge closer ties between both continents and lay the groundwork for a mutually beneficial rapport.

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A session by Sisi Wu of Jetavana Entertainment introduced the major players of the Chinese film industry and key contacts when approaching its film market. Next up was Ben Erwei Ji of Reach Glory Media & Entertainment Group, who discussed the most recent developments in the Chinese market: the two main groups of film consumers in China, ie the post-1980s and post-1990s generations, and the genres that are deemed most successful among the audiences (the growing trend of fantasy/sci-fi and action/adventure, the easy travelling of animation, the largely disparate cultural tastes regarding comedy and romance, the crisis of historical drama and kungfu). And Natacha Devillers of China Blue Films discussed the benefits of assisted shooting versus co-productions when producing a European indie film shot in China. 

When speaking of the import and release of foreign films in China, the CEO of Thunder Communications International Charles Lei noted that co-productions are given a national treatment and thus bypass the national quota imposed by the SARFT of 34 overseas revenue-sharing films (of which 14 are “specialty” films) and around 50 flat-fee films. Lastly, a session on creative e-marketing and e-ticketing shed the spotlight on the important topic, linked to how social networks are changing the way the audience consumes cinema in China. 

Veteran producer Fang Li of Laurel Film said, “We really need co-productions. The Chinese audience is growing and needs diversity. And as the number of screens grows dramatically there will soon be a chain devoted to quality pictures. That’s why there are many Chinese funds looking for projects to invest”. 

Co-founder of Bridging the Dragon Cristiano Bortone and EFM director Matthijs Wouter Knol closed a seminar that contributed once more to the creation of a community of film professionals aiming at this new frontier.

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