The Whistler Film Festival announced Friday the winners of its inaugural China Canada Gateway Film Script Competition, which saw 13 writer-producer teams pitch their co-pro projects to top Chinese production execs with CAN$15 million ($15.1 million) in development cash up for grabs.
Xing Xing Media CEO and Wuxi Studios executive director Lifeng Wang nabbed “Butterfly Tale,” an animated 3D project from Quebec written by Heidi Foss and produced by Marie-Claude Beauchamp.
Galloping Horse vice-chair Ivy Zong chose “Blush,” a B.C.-based romantic comedy from writer Richard Bell and producer Elizabeth Yale.
And Bejing Hairun Pictures’ Victoria Hon went for “The Eddie Zhao Story,” another B.C. project, which is based on a true story, written by Guy Bennett and produced by Raymond Massey.
While there has been steady collaboration between Canadian and Chinese producers over the years, Telefilm Canada shows only six pics (four features and two docus, including recent Golden Horse winner “China Heavyweight”) have been made through the official co-production treaty signed between the two countries in 1987.
That track record looks set to improve. The three winning Gateway teams are meeting with their respective Chinese co-producers before the fest wraps to kickstart discussion on the framework for the three-year development process for each project.
Whistler will launch the second edition of the competish in spring 2013.
In a statement, Whistler director of development Jane Milner called the competish a huge success. “Competitors and observers gained valuable insight into the types of stories that will succeed in China,” she said. “And our international experts also weighed in with feedback from a North American market perspective.”
The Whistler film festival runs to Dec. 2.