SHANGHAI — French producer Sylvain Bursztejn will continue his partnership with Chinese director Wang Chao in the helmer’s fourth outing, “Starting Over”.
“We have known each other for a long time. It is more like a friendship now,” said Bursztejn at the Shanghai International Film Festival
(SIFF) on Thursday.
Wang has solid art-house credentials, especially in Europe, where his last film, “Luxury Car” won the “Un certain regard” award at Cannes in 2006. Bursztejn has been a long-time supporter of China’s art-house scene, with seven Chinese films to his name including Lou Ye’s controversial “Summer Palace”. “Starting Over” will mark the third time he has worked with Wang Chao.
The film, whose $2 million budget is coming from a combination of Chinese and European sources, was initially announced at the Berlin Film Festival’s Co-production Market back in February. It will be a co-production between Bursztejn’s Rosem Films and Hangzhou-based Zhejiang Golden Globe Pictures. Golden Globe’s Chen Jinhai will take producer credits alongside Bursztejn.
“I’ve made three art-house movies so far,” commented Wang Chao, whose underground track record means he is still relatively unknown in his home territory. “They were basically aimed at foreign markets and overseas film festivals. But this new film represents a new direction for me. I am happy to call it commercial. And I am really hoping it will have an impact on the Chinese market.”
Film will be scripted by Wang. Set in Hangzhou, two hours’ drive from Shanghai, “Starting Over” is a contempo love story about a cheating wife and her husband. Following a car crash, the wife suffers from amnesia forgetting the last several years of her life and the husband rushes to build their relationship again before she remembers her lover.
Rosem Films recently upped its commitment to Chinese cinema with the opening of a Hong Kong office. Beijing rep office, run by Anaïs Martane, has been in existence for the last three years.
SIFF, which has received mixed reports from foreign delegates this year, gets glowing praise from the “Starting Over” team. Bursztejn and Golden Globe’s Chen Jinhai met here three years ago at the event’s co-production forum and began discussing a collaboration shortly afterwards.
For helmer Wang Chao, the event is particularly significant: “This is my first time at a Chinese film festival. I arrived yesterday and I already have producers supporting me who met here years ago. So many directors struggle to find backing. I feel very lucky.”