Local biz get set for Croisette

Org hopes events will open Western eyes to local film biz

China will have a big presence at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, sending a large delegation for the first time, and hosting a press conference and party to promote pics and celebrate the centenary of Chinese cinema.

China Film Promotion Intl., on behalf of the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television, will host the press conference “Centennial of Chinese Cinema,” on May 18 at 4 p.m. at the Carlton Hotel. Event will be followed by a party at 8 p.m. at the hotel.

China Film Promotion Intl. says that China has never hosted such large-scale events at Cannes, and organizers hope to open Western eyes to the local film business.

“The most well-known Chinese films to Westerners are those by Zhang Yimou, such as ‘Raise the Red Lantern.’ This creates the image of rural China,” says a spokeswoman. “But China is not like that anymore. There are films with more in-depth analysis of the development of modern China.

“We hope (the Western world) will understand that China’s economy is moving toward a market economy, so is our film industry.”

The exact number and names of the delegation, led by Zhu Yongde, CFPI president, has yet to be finalized.

CFPI will have four films at the market: “Shanghai Story,” by Peng Xiaolian; “Suffocation,” by Zhang Bingjian; and Teng Wen Ji’s “Sunrise, Sunset” and Liu Hao’s “Two Great Sheep.” CFPI’s base at Cannes will be Riviera stand H2.

Some 20 Hong Kong film companies will attend the market. The Hong Kong Trade Development Council will host the Hong Kong Pavilion at the Riviera (booth E9/F10), with companies like Universe Films Distribution Co., Mei Ah Entertainment Group, Golden Scene Co. and Adda Audio Visual under its umbrella. A reception will be held May 16 at 8 p.m. on the Carlton Beach.

Raymond Yip, a director at the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, is hopeful about prospects this year. “We heard from U.K. and European film companies at Filmart in March that they are looking to boost their acquisitions of Asian film and TV productions,” Yip says.

Yip adds that there is no competition among Hong Kong and mainland films. “(They) complement each other. The sharing of financing and talent has been very active in recent years. Not only did big-budget co-productions such as ‘House of Flying Daggers’ prove to be successful in both local and overseas markets, but small- to medium-sized co-productions are benefiting.”

(Vivienne Chow is an entertainment reporter at the South China Morning Post.)

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