SFG prexy praises co-prods like NBA-backed 'Amazing'

Hollywood bigwigs may be looking feverishly to find ways into the booming but knotty China market, but a senior figure in the Sino biz said the focus should be on exporting Chinese movies.

“Among various kinds of art forms, films possess the most convenient influences on the export of Chinese culture. Chinese films should seek common ground with audiences across the world regarding their content and adopt modern technology and marketing experiences overseas,” Ren Zhonglun, prexy of the Shanghai Film Group, said in an interview with state-backed news agency Xinhua.

In October, China’s ruling Communist Party set out guidelines aimed at making the cultural and entertainment industry a “pillar of the national economy,” not unlike the auto industry, and pledged to push Chinese culture worldwide.

“The American film industry has been paying attention to the Chinese factor. In the past, American studios cared about how they could explore the Chinese market, but now they tend to focus on investing in Chinese films,” Ren said, praising co-productions as a way forward.

This year, SFG will present basketball-themed feature “Shen Qi” (Amazing), made with the co-operation of the NBA, featuring characters played by former NBA star and local hero Yao Ming plus current players Dwight Howard and Carmelo Anthony.

According to Ren, NBA commissioner David Stern gave the pic its English title.

SFG also recently collaborated with Technicolor on “Uproar in Heaven,” a 3D toon based on the traditional Chinese story of the Monkey King.

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