European connections with the vast Chinese film market will be given a boost during the Berlinale with the return of the Bridging the Dragon event series.
This week sees an unusually large selection of mainland and Greater China productions across the Berlin Film Festival’s different sections. They include three Chinese films – Wang Quan’an’s “Ondog,” Wang Xiaoshuai’s “So Long My Son,” and Zhang Yimou’s “One Second” — in the main competition lineup.
The organization will hold the second leg of this year’s Sino-European Project Lab this week in Berlin. It sees some 6-8 Chinese and a similar number of European projects pitched to an audience of professionals, in order to find partner companies and to improve the market readiness of the projects. Having received feedback at the first series of presentations in Beijing in November, the same projects will be presented in a more developed stage to executives and a different set of tutors in Berlin. The sessions run Feb. 14-16.
A day earlier, on Feb 13. Bridging the Dragon will hold its half day Sino-European Production Seminar. Speakers this year include Cai Gongming, head of Chinese distributor Road Pictures, which was largely responsible for the successful Chinese release of Japanese film “Shoplifters”. The film earlier won the Palme d’Or in Cannes, and is now an Oscar nominee. Producer Franck Prior will also shed light on the line production of “Crocodile and Toothpick Bird,” the biggest Chinese TV series to shoot in France.
Other speakers include: Los Angeles-based entertainment lawyer, Stephen Saltzmann, Chinese writer Li Wei, and Chinese writer-director Dai Sijie, writer (“Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress”).
Bridging the Dragon, an informal network of producers and distributors, was hatched at the Berlinale five years ago. While it receives financing from institutions including the Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg and festival support from the European Film Market, corporate membership is also an option. Recent additions include Chinese finance and sales company Miscellaneous, Portugal’s Ready to Shoot, and Austria’s Terra Mater Factual Studios, a subsidiary of Red Bull.