Cannes: New Chinese Film Talents Forum Selects Winner

In a field of six participants, director Dong Chengguan won the inaugural award with his project "Love Changes the World.”

CANNES, France – Call it reading the tea leaves or simple film business savvy, the Cannes Marche du Film co-launched its first New Chinese Film Talents Forum during the 66th festival this year, flying in six aspiring Chinese filmmakers for a three-day training and pitch contest aimed at giving the directors insight into the tastes and expectations of the international market.

“It has been a wonderful initiative, to help [these directors] understand better how to push for their films to be distributed around the world,” said Jerome Paillard, executive director of the Cannes Market at a press conference Tuesday moments before the winning director was announced.

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Turning to the directors on stage, he added: “And for us too, it’s very important to understand your culture and how we can work with you, which is not so easy – we have very different cultures. But we know that in the future, we want to -- and will have to -- work closely together. This event is a very strong and important sign of that collaboration.”

Director Dong Chengguan was announced as the pitch contest’s first winner, for his project Love Changes the World, a period fantasy film with a prospective budget of $10 million. Dong worked previously in the art department of acclaimed Chinese Zhang Yimou.

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Michelle Lee, president of Champs Lis International, a co-sponsor of the event along with the China Film Producers Association, said that there was no cash prize for the winner this year, but that hopefully participation in the program would help the directors secure meetings with producers, agents and film funds during their stay in Cannes. She also said the Chinese Film Talents Fund Forum has made a three year commitment to Cannes and hopes to build on the success of the first forum in the years ahead.