The Montreal World Film Festival unquestionably has a thing for China. After three decades of providing a platform for Mainland directors, including such stalwarts as Zhang Yimou, the fest appears to be taking the relationship to another level with the launch of the four-day China Film Business Week.

The plan for the first edition is simple: Create an atmosphere for guests from both the state-supported industry and the independent scene to interact with their counterparts in the West, particularly in Canada.

“The Chinese feel that they have an ally with the festival, with a neutral setting and a relaxed atmosphere in Montreal, which is much lower key and less high-pressured than what you would have in Toronto, New York or Los Angeles,” says Gilles Beriault, director of the festival’s market, who coordinated the concept and structure of the four-day event (Aug. 27-31) with fest topper Serge Losique.

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The program’s structure is designed as a balance of fixed topics and meetings with more wide-open gatherings and exchanges.

Morning panels and meetings will touch on themes such as how to work in China, TV projects, distribution strategies and co-productions. Latter fits into a set of afternoon one-on-one co-production meetings being set between North American and Chinese producers.

The Mainland contingent, expected to exceed 30 according to Beriault, reps key entities such as China Movie Channel, China Film Group Distribution, China Film Promotion Intl. and China Film Co-Production Corp.

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