SHANGHAI — Chinese helmer Feng Xiaogang is set to direct a short film promoting China’s current antipiracy campaign that will be released during the Shanghai Film Festival.
Fest runs June 16-24.
At a press conference in the Shanghai Media Group HQ earlier this week, festival officials announced that director Feng (“The Banquet”) has chosen a screenplay titled “A Mother’s Pain” from 3,000 scripts submitted by the public, all on the theme of intellectual property rights.
The winning story, about a mother whose baby is stolen by human traffickers, was described as a “metaphor for pirates stealing others’ creativity” by fest officials.
Feng, who flew down from his native Beijing for the press conference, admitted that he had bought pirated DVDs himself in the past “like everyone else I know” but that he felt bad about it. Pirated films are like the new “opium of China,” he said. “We all want to watch them, but we know we shouldn’t.”
Authorities have recently stepped up efforts to reduce piracy levels in China (which stand at around 95%) by more aggressively prosecuting those who duplicate and sell illegal discs. Pirated DVDs, however, are still readily available all across the country and sell for as little as a dollar a disc. Industry experts including the MPA, which campaigns on the issue in the region, suggest that until quotas on foreign film imports are lifted and cinema ticket prices are brought down, piracy will continue to damage the legitimate film industry.