Bridging the Dragon at Cannes
- CANNES 2018: For the third year running, the Cannes Film Market and Bridging the Dragon, in collaboration with the CNC, have organised the Sino-International Company Meetings
For the third year in a row, the Cannes Film Market and the Sino-European producers’ association Bridging the Dragon (BtD), in collaboration with the CNC, organised an event called the Sino-International Company Meetings. The event was held on the morning of Friday 11 May, from 10 am to 12:30 pm at the CNC’s dedicated area on the Gray d'Albion beach. The aim was to continue to introduce key players from the Chinese industry to a select number of high-quality international production companies in order to foster the exchange of personal knowledge and understanding.
After having been on the cards for several years, in the last quarter, the Chinese box office overtook that of the USA, thus becoming the world's largest film market. The tremendous growth of the film industry in China, with more than 50,000 screens and counting, is creating a need for more and better content, and opening up new opportunities for collaboration with foreign partners.
This year, the number of applications received for the Film Market event was extraordinarily high, exceeding 200. The final selection included a rich array of producers recognised for their artistic or commercial success, but – regardless of their different identities and backgrounds – all with a strong focus on China.
Among them was the producer and sales agent Coproduction Office (The Square [+see also:
interview: Ruben Östlund
film profile]); the production arm of the Italian national television station, RAI Cinema; Globalgate Entertainment, the local-language film production and financing venture associated with Lionsgate; distributor Trinity Cine Asia (which recently distributed the renowned Chinese movie Youth in the UK); Spanish genre specialist Filmax; Norway’s Maipo, which focuses on commercial and family entertainment; German visual effects studio Rise Pictures, and many other highly respected companies.
On the Chinese side, more relevant companies have become involved in the event, a sign that even bigger studios are taking an interest in foreign, non-US partners. Among the selection this year were veteran producer Jeffrey Chan from Bona Film Group, one of the leading distribution companies mostly known for its genre movies, such as this year’s blockbuster Operation Red Sea (which grossed more than €460 million), and his own brand-new Just Creative Studio; Dadi Film, one of the largest Chinese cinema chains with over 4,000 screens, and a fast-growing distributor and content producer; WD Pictures, the new venture by the team behind Jackie Chan’s Skiptrace and other commercial successes; Spire Media, which employs veteran producers Chen Lizhi and Claudia Jiang, who recently co-produced the Zhang Yimou-helmed epic drama Shadow; Beijing-based company Base, the creator of the visuals for the Monster Hunt blockbuster franchise; and distributors and producers like S&C, Linmon and many others.
The event was followed by an official Sino-European Networking Party on Saturday 12 May on the Netherlands Terrace in the International Village, hosted by the Dutch and Catalunya Film Commissions. The special guest was Oriol Paulo, director of the Spanish film The Invisible Guest [+see also:
film profile], which – after taking more than $27 million at the box office – proved that times are changing, as now a high-quality European film can find a sizeable audience in China.
After its official launch during the Beijing Film Festival, BtD also presented its new BtD Professional Talents initiative at Cannes. Much like a talent agency, the platform will promote a number of selected European “below the line” professionals to the talent-hungry Chinese market. DoPs, editors, composers, and production and costume designers who have contributed to making so many great European movies, whether arthouse or commercial, will be made available to Chinese productions.
The list of participants who joined the networking cocktail event and got to know Chinese producers included director of photography Vladan Radovic (Venice winner Black Souls [+see also:
interview: Francesco Munzi
film profile], Paolo Virzi’s Directors’ Fortnight title Like Crazy [+see also:
Q&A: Paolo Virzì
film profile]); Christof Wahl, who shot some of Germany’s biggest comedy blockbusters, such as Suck Me Shakespeer [+see also:
interview: Jella Haase
film profile] and Kokowääh [+see also:
film profile]; composers like Rikard Borggård (the cult Swedish series Real Humans) and Paolo Buonvino (Gabriele Muccino’s Sundance winner The Last Kiss and Antonello Grimaldi’s Quiet Chaos [+see also:
interview: Antonello Grimaldi
interview: Domenico Procacci
film profile]); editors like France’s Hervé Schneid (Amélie [+see also:
film profile], Delicatessen, Alien Resurrection), Claudio Di Mauro, who edited most of the biggest Italian comedies of the last few years as well as cult arthouse films like Eros (Antonioni, Wong Kar-wai, Soderbergh), and Cecilia Zanuso (Like Crazy); and production designers such as François-Renaud Labarthe (Olivier Assayas’ Personal Shopper [+see also:
interview: Artemio Benki
interview: Olivier Assayas
film profile] and the historical epic The Lady in the Portrait, starring Fan Bingbing) and Tonino Zera (Giuseppe Tornatore’s The Unknown Woman [+see also:
film profile] and Spike Lee’s Miracle at St. Anna [+see also:
film profile]). These are just a few of the myriad renowned talents from the BtD Professional Talents platform.
Bridging the Dragon has set itself the task of encouraging cooperation between the two film markets. The platform is an official partner of the Cannes and Berlin Film Markets, is supported by a number of European film institutions and has collaborations in place with several partners in China. The spirit behind the initiative is that, at this specific moment when the industry is shaping up, the most valuable activity is building knowledge and personal relationships. Producing good content is not only a result of a financial investment; it also requires experience, mutual trust and, often, the exchange of creative ideas. With this in mind, Bridging the Dragon was happy to organise some fruitful and inspirational events once again at Cannes.
Cristiano Bortone, managing director of Bridging the Dragon, said: “The incredible success of The Invisible Guest has made many Chinese buyers crowd the stands of the European sales agents since the last market at Berlin, a trend that is destined to increase in the future.”
Philippe Bober, of Coproduction Office, said: “I find the producers’ one-on-one meetings very helpful and efficient; I talked with a couple of companies and found some very interesting projects that may potentially become collaborations in the future.”
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