Unifrance targets China

French export body organizes Chinese tour

PARIS — Dany Boon’s “Welcome to the Sticks,” Mia Hansen-Love’s “Father of My Children” and Laurent Tirard’s “Le Petit Nicolas” feature in Unifrance’s 6th Panorama of French Cinema, which unspools all this month in China.

The whistle-stop tour takes in Guangdong, Chengdu, Wuhan, Beijing and Shanghai.

Organized by French promotion board Unifrance, the Panorama unspools as Gallic film authorities are targeting China as a priority growth market.

A France-China co-production treaty, four years in the works, looks set to be signed shortly.

Gaul also wants to up the number of films allowed into China by the powerful State Administration of Radio, Film and Television under its foreign film quota, which many countries would like to see relaxed.

France makes more than 200 films a year but only four were distributed theatrically in China in 2009, earning E11.9 million ($16.3 million) at the box office.

EuropaCorp’s “Transporter 3” grossed $9.4 million off 1,100 prints, Gaumont comedy “Les deux mondes” $3.8 million off 719, TF1’s World War II pic “Female Agents” earned $3 million off 1,000 while Francis Veber’s “The Valet” made a measly $158,108 off 73 prints.

This year five titles are due to bow in China: “Arthur and the Revenge of Maltazard,” “Don’t Look Back,” “Coco Chanel and Igor Stravinsky,” “Largo Winch” and “Skate or Die.”

TV distribution fares better. Chinese state broadcaster CCTV airs about 50 Gallic films a year.

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