×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

FilMart: Artop Pitches Thai-Chinese Connections, In-House Produced Series

Bangkok- and Beijing-based Artop Media arrives at FilMart pitching rights to two successful TV series: “Fleet of Time” and “In Time With You.” Both are part of the company’s recent drive into in-house production.

The company was founded by Zhang Dong, who studied law and Thai at Peking University and took his first tentative steps into the entertainment business as the Asian Financial Crisis was raging in the late 1990s. He was involved in importing Chinese-made VCD players into Thailand and figured that he could add value by including the content. After a stint with China’s Han Media, Zhang found financial backers and struck out on his own in 2009.

The company positions itself as a local producer in both countries. But it is focused on the kinds of content that can travel easily between the two. That means Thai TV series that can be exported and dubbed or remade in China. And it means Chinese TV shows that can play in Thailand. Rights sales to broadcasters in Southeastern Asian neighbors, location services in Thailand, talent management and the representation of third-party film rights are further activities.

“There are lots of connections. Thai culture is very Oriental, and familiar to Chinese, everything from the standards of beauty, to landscapes and storytelling,” says Zhang. “Female-skewing drama and romances are a must.”

What was lacking was much knowledge of each other’s business practices. “Most Thai companies had no idea of Chinese regulations and censorship. And the same was true the other way around. That’s when we decided to move into production on our own account,” says Zhang. The sector got another boost four years ago when the Thai government allowed a raft of new digital TV platforms to begin operating. “Production increased, but there were not enough quality cast and crew, and there was a lack of quality new stories. That’s when imports increased.”

Where 10 years ago, Hong Kong movies were still a staple in Southeast Asia, today’s audiences in Thailand have diverged. Younger demographics have veered towards Korean content and shows that emulate Korean aesthetics, while older audiences skew more to Thai and Chinese content.

Starring Thai performers Bank (“Project S”) and Pattie (“Princess Hours”), “Fleet of Time” is a romantic drama featuring a man who recounts his good, bad and educational experiences of growing up in Bangkok in the 1980s. The four-episode show begins airing in Thailand on the GMM25 channel in May. It has been picked up for China by streaming platforms iQIYI and Bilibili. The original novel was a bestseller in China for eight months, and a film version starring Eddie Peng grossed $88 million.

“In Time With You” is a 24-part romance that gets its Thai broadcast debut in June on PPTV. It has been licensed to streaming giant Tencent for China. It stars Pae Arak(“My Girl,” “Slice”) and Mo Mochanok (“Bangkok Love Story”) in a story of a male-female friendship that over 14 years turns to love.

More Film

  • Film Review: ‘The Gift: The Journey

    ‘The Gift: The Journey of Johnny Cash’

    Very much in the manner of an “unplugged” acoustic album that showcases the musicianship of a major artist without distracting flash and filigree, “The Gift: The Journey of Johnny Cash” is a tightly focused yet impressively multifaceted documentary that attempts nothing less than to delve past familiar myths and illuminate the soul of its fabled [...]

  • Emily Morgan Cormac Fox Gregoire Debailly

    European Film Promotion Reveals 2019's Producers on the Move

    Twenty of Europe’s up-and-coming producers are going to Cannes with European Film Promotion. The organization unveiled its latest roster of Producers on the Move on Wednesday, a lineup that features France’s Gregoire Debailly, who produced Jean-Bernard Marlin’s “Sheherazade,” which premiered in Critics’ Week in Cannes last year, and Ireland’s Cormac Fox, who produced Sophie Hyde’s [...]

  • Avengers EndGame Trailer

    ‘Avengers: Endgame’ Tops Studios’ TV Ad Spending

    In this week’s edition of the Variety Movie Commercial Tracker, powered by TV ad measurement and attribution company iSpot.tv, Marvel claims the top spot in spending with “Avengers: Endgame.” Ads placed for the superhero film had an estimated media value of $6.28 million through Sunday for 927 national ad airings on 39 networks. (Spend figures [...]

  • Oscar OScars Placeholder

    Netflix Can Chill: Academy Rules No Change in Streaming Oscar Eligibility

    The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will not change eligibility rules for the Oscars, despite speculation that streaming companies might see a crackdown on their release practices when pursuing golden trophies. A board of governors meeting on Tuesday voted to maintain the status quo, that any feature-length film can be considered for the [...]

  • Aniara review

    Film Review: 'Aniara'

    Each year brings an example or three of purported “thinking person’s science-fiction” films, a category that pretty much embraces anything not centered on monsters or lightsaber battles. These efforts are often more admirable in theory than result, but “Aniara” — the first film drawn from Nobel Prize-winning Swedish poet Harry Martinson’s 1956 cycle of 103 [...]

  • Avengers: Endgame

    'Avengers: Endgame' Reviews: What the Critics Are Saying

    It’s been a long year for Marvel fans since the release of “Avengers: Infinity War,” but the wait is nearly over. The finale to the Infinity Saga is here, and while most diehard fans will know to avoid them for fear of spoilers, early reviews are mostly positive. Last year’s “Infinity War” took home an [...]

  • American Made

    'American Made' Plane Crash Lawsuits End in Settlement

    The producers of the Tom Cruise film “American Made” have settled all litigation surrounding a 2015 plane crash in Colombia that killed two pilots. The settlement resolves pending suits in both California and Georgia. A notice of settlement was filed in Santa Monica Superior Court on Monday. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed. The [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content