Cannes 2012: Chinese Film Executives Look for Global Opportunities

Scene at Cannes 65 Poster Exterior - H 2012
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Scene at Cannes 65 Poster Exterior - H 2012

Meanwhile, China Film Group is looking to expand the number of giant screens it has in the country to challenge Imax.

CANNES - Chinese film industry representatives said here Thursday that they hope for increased international collaborations and distribution of their releases abroad.

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The comments come at a time when Hollywood studios have struck recent deals with Chinese partners to increase their exposure to the fast-growing market.

In another sign of China’s growth, China Film Group, the only importer of foreign films in China and a major exporter of Chinese films, on Thursday said it would expand the number of its China Film Giant Screens (CFGS) throughout the country in a move to challenge Imax, which it said has 60 Chinese screens.

At a press conference, the China Movie Channel showed clips from two current film projects, spy drama Switch and 3D thriller Painted Skin 2.

Jia Qi, vp of China Movie Channel, said her team is looking to push into theatrical releases, including collaborations with international filmmakers to "meet a more and more global audience" with the help of "more international collaborations on a bigger scale."

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One of the directors at the event also expressed an interest in increasing the global reach of Chinese films.

"Now it is time for Chinese film to step out of the Chinese market," Switch director Jay Sun told the press conference. "It is our time to bring productions out of China...It is time for [me] and a new generation to stand out."

Sun said his film is currently still in post-production, to some degree because he is looking to balance Chinese traditions and Western tastes to give the film an opportunity to play more globally. He said he and his team are in Cannes "trying to approach some big international production houses to discuss international distribution on a global scale."

So far, the film has cost 130 million RMB ($ million). Including advertising and promotion, the budget would rise to more than 150 million ($ million), he said.

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Actor Tong Dawei said he was proud to be part of the biggest spy production in China to-date.

Directed by Wuershan, Painted Skin 2 stars including actress Zhou Xun (Flying Swords of Dragon Gate, The Message, Perhaps Love), actress Mini Yang (Mysterious Island, Love in the Buff, Wu Dang), actor William Feng (White Vengeance) and actress Fei Xiang (One in the Same) were at the press event.

As far as China Film Group's challenge to Imax goes, its large film screens are made together with China Research Institute of Film Science and Technology.

China Film Group said it would install 15 new screens in Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu and several other cities this year and a total of around 50 screens by the end of 2013.  

Twentieth Century Fox and Universal Pictures have offered recent blockbusters Titanic 3D and Battleship for CFGS screen conversion.