Ongoing efforts to forge stronger ties between the film industries in China and Europe will take center stage at the EFM Wednesday during the 4th Sino-European production seminar which takes place just as final details of a long-gestating Germany-China co-production treaty are being hammered out.
The chairman of China’s state-owned China Film Co-production Corporation, Miao Xiaotian and China Film Group president Jiao Hongfeng have made the trek to Berlin for the first time to meet with German counterparts regarding the treaty. They will be attending curated side events as well as the seminar which is organized by Bridging the Dragon, the platform that seeks to bring Europe’s film industry closer to China, in tandem with Asian Film and Television Promotion.
Roughly 60 selected European producers are attending the day-long production seminar which comprises a morning panel moderated by Variety’s Patrick Frater covering timely topics such as “What’s New on The Chinese market,” which he will chat about with Lizhi Chen of Beijing-based Spire Media, a co-producer of upcoming Zhang Yimou tentpole “Shadow”;”The Renewed Collaboration Between Hong Kong and Mainland China,” in conversation with Hong Kong multi-hyphenate Manfred Wong; and “The Increase in Co-productions,” with the China Film Co-production Group chief.
Participants will also get a chance to talk with Chinese production experts about crucial topics such as the challenges of developing suitable content, IP protection, and currency exchange. The top-level Chinese delegation is meeting with reps from the German Federal Commission of Culture and Media, the German Federal Film Board, and prominent producers such as Martin Moszkowicz, chief of Constantin Film whose “Resident Evil: The Final Chapter” (pictured) has been a massive hit at the Chinese box office, and Ulf Israel, president of Senator Film which is believed to be developing a slate of China-centric content. Though China has co-productions in place with the U.K., France, Italy, and Spain, there is no such formal agreement with Germany.
Stylish Spanish thriller “The Invisible Guest” (“Contratiempo”) directed by Oriol Paulo, in 2017 grossed $26 million in China, six times what it has pulled at its home box office.
“It’s encouraging to see European films being successfully released in China and Chinese investors turning their attention to all the things that Europe has to offer,” said Italian multi-hyphenate Cristiano Bortone, who is one of Bridging the Dragon’s founders, in a statement.
Bortone noted that “it is an exciting time” even though China so far has looked mainly to Hollywood as a movie ventures partner and “many differences” are still keeping the film industries in China and Europe apart.
Bridging the Dragon is also holding the second session of its yearly Sino-European project lab — Feb. 22-24 — at EFM.