×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Leading Digital Aiming to Improve Image of Chinese Movies (EXCLUSIVE)

New Chinese outfit, Leading Digital Post is setting out to modernize the Chinese post-production industry and change international perceptions of the developing sector.

“Chinese companies want to be global players and see their films sold internationally. For that they need to make sure their work is presented to international standards,” said senior VP of operations Richard Burnette, a long term veteran of Todd AO in Los Angeles.

The company has some 6,000 m2 of facilities in a former shipyard in central Shanghai. With a Dolby Atmos stage, its services span visual post (on site dailies, digital intermediates etc.) and sound (design, mixing, re-recording and ADR).

Founded by Mary Cao and three other private investors, Leading Digital opened for business last year following some US$20 million (RMB130 million) of upfront investment.

“Many Beijing-based post facilities leave a lot to be desired in terms of client service. We want people to feel like they are at the Four Seasons, to be able to walk in and simply not have to worry,” said Burnette. “That may make us pricey by Chinese standards, albeit not as pricey as going to the U.S., but we anyway want to cater to the top tier.”

Other international advisors include Oscar-winning sound engineer Michael Minkler, senior engineer Robert Weitz and foley artist Gary Hecker.

Popular on Variety

The company is gambling on Chinese film makers improving their presentation skills and production budgets continuing to expand. It is also calculating that Shanghai will be able to mount a challenge to Beijing, where the film industry is currently largely based. Shanghai-based companies include Oriental DreamWorks, Bliss Media and Fundamental Films.

The company is also looking to build its business through investment in outside-produced party movies. “We are looking at establishing a film fund next year. It will allow us to co-invest alongside the LPs,” said Cao. “Being able to offer both in-kind and cash investments will put us in a strong position.”

More Film

  • 2020 Oscar Presenters: Zazie Beetz, Timothée

    Timothée Chalamet, Zazie Beetz, Gal Gadot Join List of 2020 Oscar Presenters

    Show producers Lynette Howell Taylor and Stephanie Allain have announced additional presenters for the 92nd Academy Awards telecast. Zazie Beetz, Timothée Chalamet, Will Ferrell, Gal Gadot, Mindy Kaling, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Anthony Ramos, Mark Ruffalo, Kelly Marie Tran and Kristen Wiig will be presenting statuettes during the evening’s ceremony. Though none are nominated for [...]

  • Palm Springs

    'Palm Springs': Film Review

    There are far worse places to be stuck for eternity than Palm Springs. Like Punxsutawney, the town Bill Murray can’t escape in “Groundhog Day,” for example. So many copycat time-loop movies have come along in the 27 years since that each new imitator can’t help sounding like a broken record, which is what makes Max [...]

  • American cinematographer Robert Richardson (L) and

    Poland to Build $200 Million Cinema Institution in Toruń

    Poland is setting up a new national cinema institution, named the European Film Center Camerimage, to be housed in a new building in Toruń at a cost of almost $200 million, which is scheduled to be completed in 2025. The director of the new body is Kazik Suwala, former office director of the Camerimage Film [...]

  • Into the Deep Review

    'Into the Deep': Film Review

    Documentary filmmaker Emma Sullivan was already there when inventor Peter Madsen’s submarine, the UC3 Nautilus, went missing off the coast of Copenhagen in August 2017, with journalist Kim Wall on board. Sullivan had been filming Madsen, a hobbit-y egotist with electric blue eyes, for 18 months, and until that day, she believed she was making [...]

  • China leads the world in volume

    China Suspends Film Shoots Across the Country as Coronavirus Epidemic Worsens

    The largest film studio on the planet, China’s Hengdian World Studios, has announced it will shut down indefinitely, as productions in other parts of the country also announce they are closing up shop in light of the worsening coronavirus epidemic.  On Monday, the local government management committee in charge of the experimental industrial zone where [...]

  • Kobe Bryant Oscar Win Dear Basketball

    Academy Planning Kobe Bryant Tribute During Oscar Ceremonies

    The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences will include a tribute to the late basketball icon Kobe Bryant during the 92nd Academy Awards ceremony on Feb. 9. “We can confirm that he will be acknowledged in the telecast,” an Academy representative told Variety. Bryant will be included in the In Memoriam montage of film [...]

  • Zola Cast at Sundance

    How Janicza Bravo and the ‘Zola’ Cast Brought the Viral Twitter Thread to Life

    Five years after A’Ziah Wells King posted the Twitter thread known as #thestory — a tale of how a trip from Detroit to Tampa, Fla., to earn money stripping quickly devolved into a wild ride, featuring a kidnapping, a shooting, sex trafficking and a suicide attempt — the real-life “Zola” is celebrating the film adaptation’s [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content