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.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Leonardo Dicaprio Once Upon a Time

    Leonardo DiCaprio's Earth Alliance Commits $5 Million to Amazon Fires

    Earth Alliance, an environmental initiative backed by Leonardo DiCaprio, has committed $5 million toward the preservation of the Amazon rain forest following an alarming surge in wildfires. After launching Sunday, the organization’s emergency Amazon Forest Fund is working to support local partners and indigenous communities in their efforts to protect the sensitive habitats within the [...]

  • (from left) Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson)

    Box Office: 'Hobbs & Shaw' Scores $102 Million Debut in China, Nears $600 Million Globally

    Universal’s “Hobbs & Shaw” returned to first place on the international box office charts, thanks to a massive $102 million debut in China. The “Fast & Furious” spinoff, starring Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham, collected another $120 million overseas, boosting its foreign tally to $441 million. “Hobbs & Shaw” is nearing the $600 million mark [...]

  • Angel Has Fallen

    Box Office: 'Angel Has Fallen' Rises to No. 1 With $21 Million Debut

    “Angel Has Fallen,” the third chapter in Lionsgate and Millenium’s action franchise starring Gerard Butler, had a stronger opening weekend than expected, collecting $21.25 million during its first three days of release. Those ticket sales were enough to top domestic box office charts, bumping last weekend’s champ, Universal’s comedy “Good Boys,” to second place. Starring [...]

  • Amanda

    ‘Amanda’ Takes Home Best Int’l Film at 15th Sanfic

    SANTIAGO, Chile    French director Mikhael Hers’ “Amanda” scooped up the Best Int’l Film award Saturday (Aug. 24) at the 15th Santiago Int’l Film Fest (Sanfic), which reported a 20% audience uptick in the past two years and continues to grow its reputation as the most vibrant and prominent film festival in Latin America’s Southern [...]

  • disney d23

    Cruella, Kit Harington and Black Panther's Return: Everything We Learned at D23 Day Two

    Not to be outdone by the avalanche of series orders and casting announcements bolstering the new streaming series Disney Plus, Walt Disney Studios showed off its film wares in a marathon presentation at D23 on Saturday. The Anaheim, Calif. expo brought star power, if perhaps fewer surprises than Friday’s presentation, as fans in princess and [...]

  • Harvey Weinstein, Katie Holmes, Taylor Swift'The

    Taylor Swift Downplays Association With Harvey Weinstein

    Taylor Swift’s association with disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein was among the topics the singer addressed in a revealing new interview with The Guardian. Weinstein held producer credits for the movies “One Chance” and “The Giver,” both of which featured Swift — in the former, a song, and in the latter, a supporting role. She [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content