Jerry Ye, film head at Huayi Brothers, was treated like a rock star Friday at the Cannes seminar on film co-production with China. The seminar addressed the complications and massive potential for international collaboration as the Chinese film market matures and evolves.
“The Chinese market is very large, you need to approach it the right way,” said Ye. That means making early decisions about focus and the language of production. “My advice is to focus on China’s young movie goers.”
Vincent Grimond, CFO at Wild Bunch, described the Franco-German company’s Europe-China fund as supporting a long-term involvement in China. He said that many co-productions are cynical and limited to financial interests. “In fact we are not looking for any particular type of co-production, we are looking for specific movies,” Grimond said.
Trust Nordisk’s Rikke Ennis described how a company from tiny Denmark could have an impact in the world’s most populous nation. “We have learned that Chinese companies are interested in story, partnerships and intellectual property. IP is a buzz word,” she said. “The stories of Hans Christian Andersen including ‘The Little Mermaid,’ are well-known in China and gave us a position of equality with our partner.”
As usual at such events, the need to find the right business partner emerged as a key theme. Christophe Granier-Deferre, a U.K.-based producer at Poisson Rouge Pictures working on a five movie slate with China’s Thunder Pictures, said he bonded with partner on a five-hour hill walk.