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Director stresses indie spirit

By Xu Jingxi | China Daily | Updated: 2014-05-07 09:16

Director stresses indie spirit

Jia Zhangke says the Internet, although a launch pad for filmmaking talent, brings both positive and negative influences to the industry. Jiang Dong / China Daily

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China's film industry should give greater support to indie films to keep them from being drowned by bigbudget commercial films as the domestic market grows fast. This is a common appeal made most recently by Chinese director Jia Zhangke and senior executives of the Toronto International Film Festival.

"As the film industry in China enters a new stage, we keep our fingers crossed that while trying to attract a universal audience, Chinese filmmakers remain true to their culture and local stories," says Piers Handling, president and CEO of the festival. Handling was in Beijing and gave a public talk with Jia last month hosted by the Canadian embassy in Beijing.

He advises the Chinese film industry to take heed of the situation in the US, where massive productions are elbowing personal films out of the cinema.

More talented filmmakers have turned to TV series production. "There is less restriction and it's easier to find funding to showcase their personal styles and experiment with new ideas," Handling says, adding that US cinema is losing its audience for films other than blockbusters patterned after TV productions.

In China, it is the Internet that is attracting filmmaking talent and bringing "both positive and negative" changes to the film industry, says Jia, the scriptwriter and director of the Canneshonored film A Touch of Sin. The film premiered in North America at the TIFF in 2013.

Director stresses indie spirit

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