ROME – The upcoming European Film Market will mark the launch of Bridging the Dragon, a groundbreaking platform seeking to forge closer strategic ties between film industries in Europe and China, which so far has looked mainly to Hollywood as a movie ventures partner.
The Berlin-based org., whose founders include Italian multi-hyphenate Cristiano Bortone, is aiming to bridge what at present is a very distinct divide between these two film communities by forming a club of sorts with a select group of companies from both continents that can develop contacts, resources, project strategies, and lay the groundwork for a mutually beneficial rapport.
Prominent companies that have already joined the platform include Chinese giant Bona Film Group, German powerhouse Senator Entertainment, Ridley Scott’s Scott Free Films, Amsterdam-based Eyeworks Film & TV Drama, Germany’s Studio Babelsberg, and Dutch family entertainment player Lemming Film.
Bridging the Dragon will bow on February 10 with a panel on co-producing between Europe and China moderated by Variety’s Patrick Frater, comprising Bona Film Group’s Jeffrey Chan; Distribution Workshop’s Nansun Shi; Constantin Film’s Martin Moszkowicz; and X Filme’s Stefan Arndt. It will be followed by a Case Study on what works in China moderated by prominent Asian producer and industry expert Lorna Tee and by French producer Isabelle Glachant, who is Unifrance Films’s Beijing-based rep.
The high-profile event is organised in collaboration with European Network Capital Regions for Cinema (CRC) and is supported by Germany’s Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg Filmm Fund, D’Hive, Italy’s culture ministry, Nederlands Filmfonds, and the Goethe-Institut China.
“Europe has a lot to offer to this fast growing [Chinese] industry, in terms of content, talents and resources,” Bortone enthused in a statement. “It is our responsibility to encourage the process of exchange and greater knowledge between our two worlds so that in the future there will be more and more collaboration.” “The European Film Market is a great opportunity for this,” he added.
EFM director Matthijs Wouter Knol boasted that “the EFM is an ideal place for Asian film producers to start the year out networking with the European and international industries,” noting that “in 2015 the EFM is strengthening its industry relations with a bridge to Asia.”
China is expected to become the world’s number one film market by 2018 and to double the North American box office by the middle of the next decade. According to WTO regulations, in 2017 China will have to lift its import quota limitations which now restrict film imports to 34, mostly American titles, per year.
Bridging the Dragon and its members will seek to thrash out some nitty-gritty issues including: identity and reliability of Chinese or European partners; project strategies; contacts; and translations. They will put out a regular newsletter with updates on the Chinese market, activity of its members in China, and producers’ profiles. After Berlin, the org. will organise get-togethers at other major film events.