You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Chinese get pitch perfect at SIFF

CFPC offers day of pitch training

SHANGHAI — Three days of intensive pitching came to an end on Friday evening when the Shanghai Intl. Film Festival’s China Film Pitch & Catch (CFPC) sessions wrapped.

Intended to promote the development of Chinese-foreign co-productions, and provide a little education for Chinese directors looking to hone their investment strategies, CFPC hit the ground running on Tuesday with a half-day of pitch training.

Seven Chinese helmers in search of funding (chosen from around 80 applicants) received one-on-one advice from American Film Institute consultant James Hindman and Elizabeth Daley, dean of USC School of Cinematic Arts.

Two days later, the seven pitched their now-honed projects to major Chinese and overseas investors, watched by several hundred international filmmakers, festival delegates and the press.

For young Chinese directors unused to the rigors of the five-minute pitch it was an intimidating experience and several came unstuck, mostly due to nerves.

“This type of presentation represents a whole new skill set for most of us,” said Gu Xiaobai, whose film “Going West” was an entrant at the event. “Mostly it’s about controlling your nerves and knowing what you want to say. You have to find a way to present your project truthfully, but focus on what makes it different from the other films being pitched.”

A further 32 projects, a mix of local and international films outside the main pitching competition, were presented on Thursday.

Potential investor line-up featured about 20 European, U.S. and pan-Asian production houses, including Arte France Cinema, Orisa Produzioni and Unijapan, as well as a dozen or so Chinese companies.

“We have found enormous improvement in the organization this year, but there is still a lot to be done,” said Cristiano Bortone from Orisa, who has attended pitching sessions at SIFF before. “Making co-productions happen between Europe and a very different country like China is very difficult.”

At the closing event on Friday evening, two of the original seven projects were awarded prizes.

Yang Shupeng’s “The Robbers,” an historical kung fu action film, took the prize for the project with the biggest potential. Xiao Jiang’s “Goth’s Breath,” a contemporary rock ‘n’ roll dance film, won the award for most creative project. Both directors received free film processing credits with Cinelabs Beijing.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Evolution

    ‘Deep’ Animation Studio The Thinklab to Relocate to Navarre for Future Projects

    SAN SEBASTIAN — Spain’s The Thinklab, based in Madrid since its founding in 2006, has confirmed to Variety that it will be packing up its digital paintbrushes and heading north to founder Julio Soto’s homeland of Navarre where the company will establish a new studio for the purposes of producing two feature-length CGI animated films, and possibly [...]

  • Johnnie To Quits Taiwan Golden Horse

    Johnnie To Quits Golden Horse Awards as China Builds Pressure

    Leading Hong Kong film maker Johnnie To has dropped out of the Golden Horse Awards, where he was set to be president of the jury deciding the prize winners. The awards, which take place and are organized from Taiwan, have long been considered the most prestigious prized in Chinese-language cinema. However they are currently under [...]

  • Zeroville

    Film Review: 'Zeroville'

    I’m tired of hearing how some novels are “impossible to adapt.” Balderdash! Just because some books don’t lend themselves to being translated from page to screen doesn’t mean that the attempt ought not to be made. Just ask James Franco, who’s shown a speed freak’s determination to tackle some of the unlikeliest literary adaptations of [...]

  • Red Penguins review

    Toronto Film Review: 'Red Penguins'

    “Red Penguins” is a cautionary tale with particular resonance in the context of our current bizarre intertwining with Russia, the country that interfered in the last U.S. presidential election and is led by the POTUS’ apparent BFF. This wild tale of attempted transnational commerce just after the demise of the USSR in the 1990s chronicles [...]

  • Danny Ramirez'On My Block' TV show

    Danny Ramirez to Star in Film Adaptation of 'Root Letter' Video Game (EXCLUSIVE)

    An English-language film adaptation of Japanese video game “Root Letter,” starring Danny Ramirez, is in production in the U.S. through Akatsuki Entertainment USA. Besides Ramirez (“Top Gun: Maverick,” “Assassination Nation”), the film stars Keana Marie (“Huge in France,” “Live in Pieces”) and Lydia Hearst (“The Haunting of Sharon Tate,” “Z Nation”). With a screenplay by [...]

  • Screen writer Beau WillimonMary Queen of

    Beau Willimon Re-Elected as President of Writers Guild of America East

    Beau Willimon, the playwright and showrunner who launched Netflix’s “House of Cards,” has been re-elected without opposition to a two-year term as president of the Writers Guild of America East. Willimon also ran unopposed in 2017 to succeed Michael Winship. Kathy McGee was elected to the vice president slot over Phil Pilato. Secretary-treasurer Bob Schneider [...]

  • Running With the Devil review

    Film Review: 'Running With the Devil'

    A retired Navy SEAL who for a time was a military advisor on the Colombian drug trade, Jason Cabell conceived his first solo feature as writer-director to tell the story of that particular commerce “from the point of view of the drugs.” The result isn’t exactly a docudrama indictment like “Traffic,” a thriller a la [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content