USC Launches Sino-U.S. Industry Summit in Beijing

Elizabeth Daley

A collaboration with the Beijing Film Academy, the "training-networking event" will be unveiled during the Chinese capital's upcoming film market.

HONG KONG -- The University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts and the Beijing Film Academy will establish a joint program dedicated to cultural and industrial exchanges between the film industries of the two countries.

Sanctioned by the Chinese government -- with approval from the education ministry, Beijing’s municipal authorities and the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television -- the China-U.S. International Master Classes and Industry Summits in Cinematic Arts will begin in June, according to an announcement from the project’s backers, the Chinese media corporation Naga Film.

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The project will be officially inked Monday in a ceremony held during the Beijing Film Market, which runs from Saturday to Monday. On Tuesday, a “sample master summit” will be held with a panel revolving around collaborations between China and the U.S., with Beijing Film Academy president Zhang Huijun and School of Cinematic Arts dean Elizabeth Daley joined by Hong Kong filmmakers John Woo (A Better Tomorrow, Mission: Impossible 2) and Peter Pau (Oscar-winning cinematographer for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) as well as China Film Group president Han Sanping.

Naga Film will invest “several million yuan” for the project, according to the company’s statement, with the aim of continuing it over the next few years. “The outcome of the Master Project is to equip the Chinese film industry to increase influence and opportunities with international skill set and at the same time open doors for the global industry network to grow within China,” said the announcement.

This educational initiative follows U.S. studios’ aggressive attempts in establishing a foothold in China, which a MPA report states as boasting a market generating the second-highest box office revenue in the world.

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Hollywood will be very much present in the Chinese capital during the Beijing Film Market, with Paramount due to announce the Chinese characters in the next Transformers film Thursday, Village Roadshow launching Keanu ReevesMan of Tai Chi on Saturday, LucasFilm president Kathleen Kennedy delivering a keynote speech at a China-U.S. co-production forum Sunday and Marvel Studios’ Iron Man 3 gearing for a major publicity blitz in the city before its release in the country late April or early May.