The company’s Film Finances China Cultural Services office is set up within the Shanghai Free Trade Zone, launched by the city government two years ago.
The unit will be headed by former independent producer, April Ye, set as China CEO.
“The product we offer does not currently exist in China and yet hundreds of films get made here,” said FFI co-chairman Steve Ransohoff. “Nevertheless, what we aim to do here is to help producers to access capital and provide security to financiers.”
“We aim to make a significant contribution and have a professional impact on the Chinese film industry,” said Ye. “We will do this through improvements to production execution, through the creation of a credit system, which will in turn create a virtuous cycle and open access to more capital. Third, we hope to help cultivate the much needed profession of film producer in China.”
In attendance at the launch event were US executives: producers Jason Blum and Charles Layton; Cyril Drabinsky, vice chairman of Deluxe Entertainment; Stephen Scharf, senior partner of O’Melveny & Myers; and Jeff Colvin, senior VP of Comerica Bank.
“We have already been involved in numerous co-productions with China and movies that have shot in China,” said Woolner, FFI co-chairman. “We don’t need an office in Shanghai to service co-productions. We are opening the Shanghai office in the expectation that it will be used by [domestic] Chinese productions, though we believe it may also make co-productions easier too.”
The Shanghai government has put in place a number of other reforms and proposals to attract international entertainment and media companies to the city. It says that other measures are to be introduced.
“Shanghai is on its way to building a world class film base, with nearly 60 companies media companies signed to open here, and 39 that have now done so,” said an official at the event.