US, Chinese filmmakers pow wow

Updated: 2013-11-06 08:32

By WANG JUN in Los Angeles (China Daily USA)

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The 2013 US China Film Summit held in Los Angeles on Nov 5 honored Motion Picture Association of America Chairman and CEO Christopher Dodd and Chinese actress Li Bingbing.

The whole day conference examined the social and cultural impact of Hollywood-China collaboration, as well as the media and technology aspects of the relationship.

Yang Buting, chairman of China Film Distribution and Exhibition Association, has a rosy view of US-China film cooperation backed by the growing numbers of industry players. US and Chinese players shared profits on 34 co-produced films this year; the number was 20 last year, he said.

"There are many Chinese stories that need to be told," Yang told the audience. The key is to focus on the "universal value" behind the stories. "That will bring a win-win situation," he added.

In the past year, domestic films have started to gain more audiences in China than US films, Yang said. However, with the growing market, it's not a zero-sum game, he added.

The next films that Yang would co-produce with his US partners include Chinese Super Hero and Butterfly Lovers. He expects more films would be like Finding Mr. Right, a recent film that has been well received in both China and the US.

However, director Xue Xiaolu has a different view. "Whenever there's a dark horse, there's a need in the market." In terms of her film, "Finding Mr. Right tells the love story of a pregnant woman," she said.

It's not a model that can be easily copied in a healthy way, said Xue, who has more than 10 years experience as a film writer.

Xue pointed out that the current Chinese audience is a generation that grew up watching US films. But from the film production side, it's comparatively easy to secure funding for film production; content is what's hard. "The only person that's successfully integrated the Chinese emotion into US films is Ang Lee," she said.

In terms of co-production, Zhang Xun, president of China Film Co-Production Corporation, encourages filmmakers who seek meaningful cooperation to get to know China in a deeper way. "If I get plastic surgery — make my nose higher and eyes bigger — am I Chinese or American?" Zhang asked. She appreciated film producers like Janet Yang, who spent a significant amount of time living in China to work on co-production.

"China has made huge progress in the past 30 years. There's still huge potential for the China film market and filmmakers," said Zhang.