×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

H’w’d focus on China’s changes

Confabs designed to give bizzers insight

Hollywood will be looking to the East in the coming weeks thanks to two confabs designed to give bizzers’ insights to China’s expanding entertainment market.

UCLA and USC are setting aside their usual Westside-Eastside rivalry this weekend to co-host the free two-day Media and Culture in Contemporary China conference, which includes an appearance by prolific film and TV helmer-producer Zhang Jizhong.

On Nov. 1, the Asia Society Southern California’s Entertainment & Media/Asia Initiative will present a half-day U.S.-China Film Summit at Landmark Theaters in Westwood focusing on the landscape for U.S.-China co-productions, as well as collaborations in marketing and distribution.

The Media and Culture confab is produced by the UCLA-USC Joint East Asian Studies Center, UCLA history professor Andrea Goldman notes that while Zhang is “virtually unknown in the West,” he is “a household name in China due to the popularity of his TV serials,” often based on classic Chinese literature.

Confab organizers have shaped the conference to Zhang’s expertise, featuring discussions on the state of the entertainment industry in China, the recreation of Chinese dynasty classics in film and TV, and the integration of theme parks in China. There will also be a big focus on the impact of China’s growing local film and TV production industry on its popular culture.

“With the rise of the economic power of China now, globalization is moving in a different way,” Goldman says. “Zhang is representative of this new phenomenon of Chinese producer-directors eyeing a global market for their work.”

Friday’s sked at UCLA’s James West Alumni Center will include a keynote from Zhang and a screening of his recent TV production “Journey to the West,” based on the 16th century epic novel. Participants in Friday’s panels include Phoenix Films topper Mike Medavoy, Pandemonium Films prexy Bill Mechanic and Manifest Films head Janet Yang.

The gathering moves to USC’s Annenberg Auditorium on Saturday with an emphasis on theme parks and will include execs from Walt Disney Imagineering. Zhang, who is in the midst of creating a theme park based on China’s Monkey King legend, will close the gathering with a 90-minute Q&A.

Martin Kaplan, director of the Norman Lear Center at USC’s journalism school, said there’s no question that showbizzers need to have a better understanding of China.

“The Chinese government said they want to double their entertainment sector in the next five years. That offers plenty of opportunities for people who are outside of China to work with people who are inside China,” said Martin Kaplan, director of USC’s Norman Lear Center.

The Asia Society event features two panel seshes — one on finance, the other on creative concerns — featuring bizzers who have made notable inroads in China of late, including Relativity Media’s Ryan Kavanaugh and Dan Mintz of DMG, which is investing in theaters. Also onboard as speakers are Ivy Zhong, general manager of Galloping Horse Prods., former Universal chairman David Linde and producers Tom DeSanto and Dayyan Eng.

More Film

  • PLAYA VISTA, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 24:

    Shorts Encourage Women to STEAM Careers

    Straight Up Films created the anthology “Power/On” of five shorts focused on encouraging girls in STEAM (science, technology, engineering and math with the arts thrown in) directed by actresses Rosario Dawson, Julie Bowen, Ana Brenda Contreras, Lisa Edelstein, and Nikki Reed. With support from YouTube, the shorts premiered Wednesday at the Google campus in Playa [...]

  • Stefanie Sherk obit

    Stefanie Sherk, Actress and Wife to Demian Bichir, Dies at 43

    Canadian actress and model Stefanie Sherk died on April 20 of an apparent suicide by drowning. She was 43. The Los Angeles Medical Examiner-Coroner confirmed the ruling and cause of death. Sherk appeared in the TV show “CSI: Cyber” and the movie “Valentine’s Day.” She also starred in the show “The Bridge” alongside her husband [...]

  • Ron HowardBreakthrough Prize, Arrivals, NASA Ames

    Ron Howard Talks New Luciano Pavarotti Documentary

    If one is an anomaly, two are a coincidence and three are a trend, then Ron Howard might strictly become a music documentarian after “Pavarotti” hits theaters. The documentary about the world-famous Italian tenor Luciano Pavarotti comes on the heels of Howard’s “The Beatles: Eight Days a Week” and “Made in America,” a look at [...]

  • Mary Elizabeth Winstead

    Mary Elizabeth Winstead to Star in Netflix Assassin Thriller 'Kate' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Mary Elizabeth Winstead is set to star in the Netflix actioner “Kate,” sources tell Variety. “The Huntsman: Winter’s War” director Cedric Nicolas-Troyan is helming from a script by Umair Aleem. The story revolves around a female assassin, who, after being poisoned and given less than 24 hours to live, must go on a manhunt through [...]

  • Shannon Hoon

    Blind Melon Frontman's Home Movies Captivate in Tribeca Doc 'All I Can Say'

    For a period of five years, Blind Melon frontman Shannon Hoon diligently chronicled his own life, videotaping himself with a Hi-8 video camera through every step of his musical journey — starting out in Indiana, through his meteoric rise to alt-rock icon, up to the day of his death in 1995. These captivating moments finally [...]

  • 'The Edge of Democracy' Review: A

    Film Review: 'The Edge of Democracy'

    How the hell did we get here? It’s a question that political liberals are asking themselves in many parts of the world, reeling as they are from a global tilt to the right that has yielded the tumultuous Trump presidency, the ceaseless, squabbling chaos of Brexit and, albeit less prominently in international headlines, Brazil’s submission [...]

  • Brie Larson

    Brie Larson on Diversity in the Marvel Cinematic Universe: 'We Gotta Move Faster'

    While Brie Larson is thrilled over the success of the female-led “Captain Marvel,” the actress wants more diversity in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Larson sat down with Variety’s Marc Malkin for the first episode of Variety and iHeartMedia’s new film podcast, “The Big Ticket.” “I’m happy to be on the forefront of the normalization of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content