Movie moguls gather at LA film summit

Updated: 2014-11-06 12:30

By Cindy Liu in Los Angeles(China Daily USA)

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Movie moguls gather at LA film summit

From left: Todd Moody, principal of Ernst & Young LLP, Yang Xianghua, senior vice-president of IQIYI, Clifford Coonan, Asian Bureau chief of The Hollywood Reporter, Jack Gao, board member of WeChat Film, and Peter Shiao, chief executive officer of Orb Media Group, share thier wisdom with audience at the panel discussion on 2014 US China Film Summit and Gala Dinner on Wednesday in Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles. Cindy Liu / China Daily

Chinese people love to socialize, and that is a key factor in the country's massive consumption of movies and social media.

"Chinese people are social animals - there is a huge increasing middle-class population who do not go home after work like most middle-class people in the US would do," said Tang Xiaomin, chief executive vice-president of the China Culture Industrial Investment Fund, which invests in WeChat Films. "They connect on WeChat, and they go to watch films. I believe the social media platform in China is actually more mature than in US."

Tang's comments came at the fifth annual US-China Film Summit, produced by the Asia Society Southern California, on Wednesday at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles.

"Second, the density of the population in metropolitan areas is much more larger than in the US," he continued. "Third, in small cities and countryside regions, there are many theatergoers, and these people are usually not included in the national official statistics. Thus, the actual film market is larger than 30 billion yuan."

Featuring five panel discussions, the summit focused on trends in US-Chinese co-production and examined new dynamics in cross-border entertainment, including film finance, the development of television programs and the rapid convergence of old and new media in China.

Ted Sarandos, chief content officer for Netflix; Charles Rivkin, US assistant secretary of state for economic and business affairs and the former CEO of the Jim Henson Co; and Miao Xiaotian, president of the China Film Co-Production Corp, gave speeches during the day followed by panel discussions and a dinner afterward.

Rivkin said that "economic relationship boosts the relationship of China and the US, and film is the best example of a win-win economic relationship between the two markets."

Topics included: Beyond: Inside the process of creating U.S.-Chinese tentpole films; New Players: Fresh forces in cross-border film finance; Serial Dreams: Opportunities and challenges for developing episodic programs for broadcast TV or digital distribution; Content Convergence: How Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent are changing the world; and The C-Suite View: Big-picture strategies for US-China film.

Jack Gao, board member of WeChat Films, who formerly served as senior corporate vice president of News Corp., explained that the social media platform with 600 million mobile users in China has huge market potential.

Jeffery Soong, partner of Chin Cultural & Entertainment Investments LP, mentioned that the Chinese audience is "picky and hard to satisfy. Filmmakers have to make their products appeal to Chinese audiences even more than Hollywood films; otherwise, investors would rather invest in Hollywood films to make the money."