European and Chinese professionals strengthen ties in post-pandemic era in Cannes

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– CANNES 2021: The Sino-European Cinema Panel organized by the Film Market and Bridging the Dragon was once again a success in terms of content and attendance

A moment of the debate, broadcast live from Cannes and Beijing

In the semi-virtual space, the Sino-European Cinema Panel organized by the Film market and Connect the dragon was once again a success in terms of content and footfall. In collaboration with CMC Pictures, this year’s panel adopted an innovative format, with a live broadcast from Cannes and Beijing, and with a physical audience invading the room in Beijing.

The panels were launched on the morning of July 12. Lu Yang, renowned Chinese director of Chinese hits such as A writer’s odyssey (133 million euros at the Chinese box office); Benjamin Illos, coach of the Cannes Directors’ Fortnight; Gillian zhao, president of Warner Media China; and Catherine ying, vice president of CMC Inc and president of CMC Pictures and Pearl Studio, gave an in-depth overview of the positioning of Chinese films on the world stage. In recent years, China’s role in the film market has changed dramatically. Chinese films are becoming more and more visible, appearing frequently not only at major international festivals, but for the first time on mainstream platforms and cinemas around the world. As Ying pointed out, “Chinese filmmakers continue to improve their storytelling in a way that is accepted by both local and global audiences, creating more and more original IP and content for the world. “

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Like other film industries around the world, China has experienced a streaming boom after the pandemic, which has brought both opportunities and challenges for Chinese cinema. Zhao clarified, “On the one hand, the development of streaming has accelerated the internationalization of Chinese cinema, allowing viewers to watch high-quality Chinese content anytime and anywhere; but on the other hand, it is an unprecedented challenge for film professionals. Pressed by the emergence and popularity of streaming platforms, director Lu Yang reminded those in attendance to never forget why and for whom movies are made in the first place.

In the second panel, Celina Jade, a renowned Chinese actress who starred in Wolf warriors ii, the highest grossing Chinese film of all time; Sandrine Brauer, seasoned French producer and co-founder of the think-tank Le Collectif 50/50; Yuan Yuan, screenwriter of the 32sd Winner of the Golden Rooster Award for Best Feature Film Us and them; Yin Rouxin, director of the recent Chinese hit Sister (110 million euros at the Chinese box office); and Yang jing, founder of the ONE International Women’s Film Festival, spoke recently about the emergence of a new generation of professional women and women-related content in China’s film and television industries. As in the rest of the world, women’s empowerment has also become a widely debated social issue in China. The film industry is now paying more attention to the growing importance of female directors and their audiences. The role of female characters in Chinese film and television has changed dramatically in recent years – as Yuan observed – from altruistic victims to strong, independent women. She added, “Chinese audiences are bored with the stereotypical female image of always being innocent and gentle. They want to see female characters with a new look.

The same thing happened on the industry side. Celina Jade observed, “In recent years, there seemed to be as many female directors, producers and crew members in the Chinese film industry as there are in Hollywood. With her vast experience in running a female film festival in China, Ms. Yang shared a similar point of view and encouraged film professionals to have more confidence in themselves, as the Chinese film industry is still dominated by men. Brauer stressed the importance of understanding the system and supporting women in their efforts to break the glass ceiling.

The event continued on the morning of Tuesday, July 13 with the association’s traditional Sino-International Twinning Meetings. More than 55 companies from around the world participated in the online event. Among them were Alibaba Pictures Cannon Studio, a new production arm of Chinese leader Alibaba; Bilibili, the first online platform in China; Hengdian, owner of the largest film studios in China, also involved in distribution; Pearl Studio, one of China’s leading family entertainment studios; and renowned talent agencies like CAA and Easy Entertainment. These companies participated with a rich array of international companies, such as a major arthouse production agent Co-production office (France), the best news archive in the world British Pathé (United Kingdom), Spanish specialist in the commercial genre Filmax (Spain), leading Russian animation company Wizart Animation (Russia), production and visual effects house based in Berlin Rise Pictures (Germany), Italian company fandango (Italy) and Red Bull’s production arm, Terra Mater Factual Studios (Austria), among others. The aim was to support any type of interaction between the two markets.

Judging by the enthusiasm of the attendees, Chinese and international film professionals are keen to strengthen their ties in the post-pandemic era. The success of the Chinese film market in recent months should be a sign that working together across countries, regions and cultures represents a great strategic opportunity.

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