Chinese int’l co-productions rise

Applications for joint projects up 30%

The number of companies applying to make co-productions in China has risen sharply in the first six months of this year, a senior biz figure said, signaling a positive period for the market.

There have been around 60 applications for co-productions each year for the past two years, with around 40 being made, a rise of 10% year-on-year, China Film Co-production Corp. prexy Zhang Xun told the Beijing News.

“However, the number of applications for co-productions has already risen by 30% by June, which means the market is developing positively,” Zhang said.

This year has seen some high-profile co-productions, such as “Snow Flower and the Secret Fan,” which is jointly produced by Wendi Deng Murdoch, wife of Rupert, and Chinese shingles. It is due to be released Friday in China.

Beijing- and Los Angeles-based DMG Entertainment is co-producing the Hollywood-China pic “Looper” starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt and China’s Xu Qing.

At the Shanghai Film Festival, Hollywood producer Mike Medavoy said he was teaming with Shanghai Film Group to make a pic and miniseries about how the city offered refuge to persecuted Jews in World War II.

In his address to the fest, Motion Picture Assn. of America chief Chris Dodd also praised co-productions such as the remake of “The Karate Kid” and “The Forbidden Kingdom.”

Zhang said the reason behind the increase was not only that more foreign filmmakers were becoming aware of the opportunities in China, but also the market was becoming more open as policies had eased.

Many of this year’s co-productions have already started script development, Zhang said, adding that they would have better distribution around the world, spreading the word about Chinese culture.

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