Planned China circuit targets students

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BEIJING -- A new cinema circuit targeting China's university students and designed to offer an outlet for small- to medium-size films is in the works and has the approval of the Film Bureau, local media reported Wednesday.

Huang Jianxin, head of the China Directors Assn., in cooperation with co-organizer Tian Zhuangzhaung (helmer of 1993's "The Blue Kite"), told the Beijing Times that approval for the planned 100-campus cinema circuit was received late last year from the Film Bureau at the State Administration of Radio Film and Television.

"The distribution mechanism in China now is dominated by the imported and commerical big films, so big batches of small- and medium-budget films are unable to enter this distribution system," Huang said. "We need to set up another circuit."

Thus far, the company being set up to run the circuit has signed up 60 campuses to join in the project, including the Beijing Film Academy and the China Communications University in Beijing.

A BFA official told the daily that the nation's most prestigious film school will accommodate the project as long as they can sell tickets to the movies shown.

Tickets sold in the university circuit would be a cheap 10 yuan-20 yuan ($1.29-$2.59). This is comparable to the price of pirated DVDs widely available in China and well below typical prices at state-of-the-art multiplex cinemas that can run as high as 80 yuan ($10.35) per ticket, the BFA official said.

China's roughly 2,000 commercial theaters are dominated by such big circuits as Beijing-based Xinyinglian and Dalian-based Wanda, whose programrs' tastes run toward commercial blockbusters that tend to generate big ticket sales among China's nascent theatergoing population.
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