Come, share China's wealth of resources

Updated: 2017-03-17 08:07

By Wang Yuke in Hong Kong(HK Edition)

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The potential of Sino-foreign co-productions to dominate the film industry is enormous, says Teddy Chen, director of Bodyguards and Assassins which scooped eight awards at the 29th Hong Kong Film Awards in 2009.

Upbeat about the prospect of co-productions, Chen also expects to see diverse forms of cooperation between filmmakers, investors and film producers at home and abroad.

China enjoys a wealth of unique advantages in making films which foreign filmmakers can harness, and vice versa, Chen pointed out. Utilizing the unique strengths from each side could lead to a maximization of benefits for the co-produced films, he added.

China's rich history and exceptional ethnic culture provides an unlimited source of inspiration for filmmakers. The storyline of Chen's Bodyguards and Assassins which took 290 million at the Chinese box office was based on the Xinhai Revolution of 1911. "Some plots in the film were original while some were fictional, but I made sure they were faithful to the historical truths," added Chen.

China's vast land and abundant natural landscapes make for ideal film shooting locations. Chen attributed the success of his film Bodyguards and Assassins largely to its elaborate sets, replicating Hong Kong's Central district in the 1900s. The sets, however, were set up in the western suburb of Shanghai.

A co-production, especially if it's an action film, can hardly be a success without using sophisticated shooting and post-production technologies that overseas filmmakers are good at, noted Chen. "We have a pool of martial arts actors, but what we lack are the technologies that can add special effects to the action. Foreign technologies allow us to bring more spectacular stunts to the screen, saving our actors from risking their lives doing dangerous stunts," he said.

Chen is earnestly concerned about the quality of co-productions. Referring to the spate of co-produced films released in recent years, Chen said, only a fraction of these has left a lasting impression on the audience. "There are no stories in those films, no real substance there," he remarked.

He also noted that a co-production was not simply about putting together crew members from different nationalities, it was essentially about finding a point of "conflict" which could serve as the pivot of the story.

A similar sentiment was echoed by Chen Yiqi, chairman of Sil-Metropole Organization. He noted that co-operations in filmmaking may not be confined to engaging people from different countries or regions in a project. "Chinese companies invest in US films, Chinese directors direct US-invested films, US filmmakers reproduce Chinese films - all of which count as cooperation."

Come, share China's wealth of resources

(HK Edition 03/17/2017 page2)