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Chinese films looks to make mark in Toronto, around world

By NA LI in Toronto | China Daily Global | Updated: 2019-09-20 02:42
Chinese Film Fengshen Trilogy [PHOTO/XINHUA]

A short video clip from the Fengshen Trilogy at a Beijing International Film Festival (BIFF) promotional event in Toronto won a round of applause at the Bell Lightbox of the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF).

Du Yang, vice president of Beijing Culture, said she was proud to present the film project at TIFF, one of the world's top film festivals.

"With a total investment of over 3 billion yuan, we have assembled the world's top-notch teams to develop this project, aiming to initiate the Chinese mythology film and present China's time-honored literary epic to the world," Du said.

Cui Yan, deputy executive director of BIFF, said it has made great strides in the past nine years and forged cooperation with major film festivals like TIFF.

"We aim to further promote Chinese film industries and strengthen the international cooperation, and build a big communication platform for films in Asia," Cui said.

As a "going abroad" program, BIFF is just one of the strategic approaches for Chinese films going global.

The filmmakers from North America shared their insights on the implications for the globalization of China's growing movie industry, as well as how Chinese film could integrate its culture internationally.

Cameron Hood, a senior story artist, director and producer at Cameron Hood Studios, told China Daily that he loves writing stories, specifically for the world market.

"Like Minions, I make a lot of money in China, and I am looking for Chinese partners to see what the next big idea for the China market could be as well as for the rest of the world," he said.

Hood has visited China and worked with studios in Wu Xi, and brought Western style animation to Chinese partners.

"We come up with lots of collaboration, because the audiences in China are going so fast. When I did master class in China … the students were very professional, and they keep learning and sharing," he added.

Liz Taylor, the president of Wild Maple Films, said she is learning the Chinese language and hoping to shoot pictures and co-produce in China.

"I really want to collaborate with China because this is the country I really love ... the culture and the people," Taylor said.

Raymond Massey of Massey Productions, who co-produced the film Iron Road with China in 2007, said the company is interested in telling Chinese stories around the world.

"I go to China frequently, and I am excited by China," said Massey. "I have been working with China projects every year since producing of Iron Road. China has a special place in my heart.

"Unlike here in North America, investors can be only behind the producers who make the movie, but Chinese film investors sometimes drive the producers, and they always ask what day they could make profits," he said.

Another hiccup is the language, because Chinese movies need English subtitles in the Western market, which can limit the promotion and distribution of films. "And most of the Western audiences here only know a few Chinese filmmakers, such as Zhang Yimo, Feng Xiaogang, Jackie Chan," Massey added.

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