China / Society

Asian Side of the Doc boosts Chinese documentaries

By Li Yu and Peng Chao in Chengdu ( Updated: 2014-03-24 19:12

The fifth edition of the Asian Side of the Doc has become a marketplace for documentary programming, participants to the event said.

The event, which ended on Friday in Chengdu, Sichuan province, brought together more than 600 broadcasters, producers and financiers from Asia and the rest of the world to co-produce documentary programs, according to the event organizer.

Additionally, executives from international channels like ARTE, BBC, NFB and PBS and leading producers shared insights.

"What's new this year is that as well as the project-pitching and debates from previous years, we have added a true marketplace for documentaries from East and West to be bought and sold," said Yves Jeanneau, CEO of SunnySide markets.

Jeanneau said he was surprised to witness the "sea change" in the situation of documentaries in China over the past five years.

This is the first time that Asian Side of the Doc has come to the Chinese mainland, after Hong Kong in 2010, Seoul in 2011, Tokyo in 2012 and Kuala Lumpur in 2013.

"It is a great opportunity for Chinese documentary producers to get in line with international practice and learn from abroad the advanced experience," said Liang Bibo, one of the judges at the pitching sessions during the event.

The Chengdu-based senior director said he was glad to join the event in his hometown. "It was torture to fly so far to foreign countries for documentary and film festivals, but now we are having a world-level event by the Funan River in Chengdu."

Bai Gang, a member of the standing committee of the CPC Chengdu Committee and director of the city's Publicity Department, said Chengdu is rich in documentary resources, with its time-honored history and culture.

Edwina Ngao, head of A+E networks for China, said: "China has plenty of precious documentary resources, and we have come to hear more Chinese stories here."

"Americans love China-themed documentaries, but they tend to have a different perspective from Chinese people. I think international cooperation is necessary if Chinese documentaries are to go abroad."

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