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China urged to update producer role

Current system ill adapted to market economy

BEIJING — One of China’s top film biz bureaucrats has called on the domestic industry to beef up the way it gets coin for projects, saying the old producer system is due for revival.

“We now urgently need film producers who are politically sensitive, aesthetically sophisticated and have a flair for marketing,” said Jiang Ping, VP of the Film Bureau, which is part of the all-powerful State Administration of Radio, Film & Television.

Speaking to the Xinhua news agency, Jiang said the Soviet-style system of total control of domestic production was fine for paying tribute to revolutionary heroes.

“However, the system is ill adapted to China’s market economy, and we need more outstanding film producers. The advantage of the producer system is the producer’s sensitivity to the market,” Jiang said.

He pointed to the batch of powerful producers in the 1920s, such as Zhang Shichuan, Zhang Shankuan, Xiang Yunhu, Gu Eryi and Gu Yelu, who did much to popularize local cinema.

Chinese filmmakers have been trying to bolster the role of the producer in the process, but the helmer is still the main figure in the biz. The producer role is often filled by a director’s wife or by the helmer himself.

Last year China made 330 pics that took in $333 million in domestic B.O., according to official data, up 30% on 2005.

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