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FUTURE OF CHINA’S FILM INDUSTRY BIGGER, BETTER, BRIGHTER – FORUM July.28.2020

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SHANGHAI/SINGAPORE — The Motion Picture Association (MPA) joined today with Shanghai Jiao Tong University, the 23rd Shanghai International Film Festival (SIFF) and production partner China Central Television (CCTV), to host the 7th Global Film Industry Value Chain Development Forum. The event is presented as a hybrid in-person and virtual forum as part of the official 2020 SIFF program.

Filmmakers and seasoned film industry professionals were convened for a deep-dive into this year’s theme: Post Covid-19: The Changing Landscape of the Global Film Industry, featuring discussions on various timely topics, including how the film industry is tackling current challenges generated by the pandemic; internet and VOD business trends; high-concept and high-value IP content development; and the industrialization of the film, television and streaming industries in China. Speakers agreed that all stakeholders in the industry are committed towards establishing a more sophisticated means of production that delivers high-quality feature films for a wide audience.

Opening remarks were given by HU Hao, Member of the Standing Committee of the Shanghai Jiao Tong University Committee, ZHANG Hong, Executive President of China Film Association, and Charles H. Rivkin, Chairman & CEO of the MPA.

In his welcome address, Rivkin said, “I am pleased and delighted to see the Shanghai International Film Festival up and running. It’s so important that we keep up the flow of creativity, connectivity, and conversation between our film and television industries. Let’s continue to seek ways to work together, share ideas, and establish common ground.”

FU Ruoqing, Vice President and CEO of China Film Co., Ltd., and Chairman of Huaxia Film Distribution Co., Ltd, delivered keynote remarks, setting the scene by suggesting that the Chinese film industry could look forward with optimism: “China generated 110 million yuan box office in the first week of Chinese cinemas resuming operations, with about 4.15 million attendees. China Film Group and Huaxia Distribution plan to organize 30-50 classic films to re-release in cinemas in order to reboot the market. And I am confident that the China film market will recover gradually. As the second-largest film market in the world, China will strengthen international cooperation, promoting the development of the global film industry.”

During the first panel discussion on the way forward for the film and television industry in China following the impact of the pandemic, WANG Zhonglei, CEO of Huayi Brothers, talked about the vital role played by leading production companies: “Major film studios should be responsible to help reboot the market by providing high quality films. As for Huayi Brothers, we plan to release high profile films in each box office seasons from this August, attracting audiences to go back to cinemas. Huaiyi Brothers will also start shooting 3-4 films in the second half of 2020.”

Providing the exhibitor’s point of view, Richard Gelfond, CEO, IMAX, said, “As audiences come back, they are going to want something reliable, familiar and something different from what they can get at home. If you want to see a blockbuster, you’re going to want to see it on IMAX, and in the long run, IMAX will be back stronger than ever.”

Asked about the current trends in cinema-going, Rance Pow, Founder & President of Artisan Gateway, said, “China is the largest market to re-open, and we view the early box office results as encouraging. That being said, the cinema industry will likely face challenges and hardship in the short and intermediate terms. The major chains will likely survive and become vehicles of industry consolidation… perhaps with significant financial restructurings after the prolonged period of business closure.”

Sharing her views on the level of business activity she has seen in the global film industry, Katherine Winston, Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Winston-Baker, said, “The good news is that deals are getting done in the time of Covid-19. What I hear often is, ‘We’re busier than ever. We’re on back to back Zoom meetings all day. But what’s different is the types of deals that are getting closed, the pace that it’s getting done at, the sizes of the deals.’ ”

Contributing to the second panel on China’s Road to the Industrialization of the Film and TV Industries, John Penotti, Producer of Crazy Rich Asians, said, “We need to cultivate films with universal themes of love, romance, action, adventure, and exciting tales of modern day and historic individuals. They have to be heartfelt. This is how we’ll reach a global audience with authentic Chinese stories.” Penotti used the opportunity to announce that his company plans to shoot the sequel to Crazy Rich Asians in Shanghai in 2021.

Responding to how China is placed to deliver high concept productions on an industrial scale, producer of The Meg, Belle Avery, said, “China has done this successfully with several films. Wandering Earth was a huge scale sci-fi film that was brilliantly done and the second one will even be better. I’d also like to point out that The Great Wall paved the way for such co-productions as The Meg. We are all learning from each other and I am completely confident we will only get better and better together.”

Jerry YE, Founder & Chairman, Qing Song Films, suggested that the industrialization of China’s film industry is still in its infancy: “Let’s say that industrialization is a mature system that allows you to deliver a slate of production, and the productions reaches a certain level of quality. It’s like comparing a factory to a small studio. A small studio may be able to create a masterpiece, but it’s still a niche output. If you have a large order coming into your studio, you’ll get a bottleneck. You need a system to help you guarantee both the quality and the quantity of your production slate, delivered to a deadline to meet all of your orders. That’s what I understand by industrialization.”

Belinda Lui, President & Managing Director of MPA Asia-Pacific concluded, “The fact so many industry leaders were able to participate in the Shanghai International Film Festival, and we were able to co-host our forum in this new format, is a testament to the resilience and innovation of our industry. It appears from the engaging panel discussions that that same combination of creativity and commitment will contribute greatly to the industry achieving its full potential. It is encouraging to see everyone exchanging ideas and coming together to ensure that audiences in China and around the world will continue to have access to quality content.”

View images from the 7th Global Film Industry Value Chain Development Forum here.

Promoting & Protecting Screen Communities in Asia Pacific

The Motion Picture Association (MPA) Asia Pacific represents the interests of the six international producers and distributors of filmed entertainment. To do so, they promote and protect the intellectual property rights of these companies and conduct public awareness programs to highlight to movie fans around the world the importance of content protection. These activities have helped to transform entire markets benefiting film and television industries in each country including foreign and local filmmakers alike.

The organization act on behalf of the members of the Motion Picture Association, Inc (MPA) which include: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Netflix Studios, LLC, Paramount Pictures Corporation, Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc., Universal City Studios LLC, and Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. The MPA has worldwide operations which are directed from their head offices in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. and overseen in the Asia Pacific by a team based in Singapore. For more information about MPA Asia Pacific, please visit https://www.mpa-apac.org/ and https://www.facebook.com/mpaasiapacific/.

For more information, please contact
Stephen Jenner
MPA Asia-Pacific
(65) 6253 1033

June Tan
MPA Asia-Pacific
(65) 6253 1033

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