Oriental Intl. makes its FilMart sales debut with a line-up of six new titles and a library of 20 arthouse classics and shorts. The firm is the Hong Kong branch of Chinese state-run radio and TV broadcaster CRI-CIBN’s smart TV division. The company has five employees but only one employee based permanently in Hong Kong. It is involved in film acquisition, distribution, co-production and the promotion of Chinese films abroad in festivals.
CRI-CIBN, however, is an enormous operation with over 400 employees. It is part of the larger China Media Group, the country’s most prominent government-run media coalition, which also includes state broadcaster CCTV and China National Radio. Its smart TV department also acts as one of the country’s seven censors regulating what content makes it onto Chinese smart television platforms.
The four completed titles in its slate are drama “The Fall,” by director Zhou Lidong, documentary “Fading Mountains,” pictured above, by director Cui Yuxi, suspense film “Out of Crimes” by Peter Zuo and documentary “Post-’00s” by Zhang Tongdao. Two more, the experimental arthouse film “Ruins,” by Beijing-based ink painter Bingyi, and a relay racing sports documentary called “The Longest One Second,” by director Luo Guanhong, are in the final stages of post-production.
“Post-’00s” chronicles the lives of young Chinese people born after 2000 shot over 12 consecutive years. Director Zhang, a media professor at Beijing Normal University, selected kindergarten-aged children in 2006 and followed them for over a decade.
Oriental Intl. discovered the project at its annual FreshPitch documentary conference, held in Jiangsu province. This year’s iteration, its fourth, will take place in Suzhou in early June. Last year, it received 130 project pitches, 20 of which were chosen to be put forward to producers and financiers.
The company has a library of arthouse titles that include works by Diao Yinan (“Uniform”), Hu Guan (“Cow”) and festival darling Jia Zhangke, including “Still Life,” his documentary “Dong,” shorts such as “Cry Me a River” and his student film “Xiaoshan Going Home.”
The firm is developing a screening tour for these titles and other modern works called “Long Time No See.” It is split into two different themes — a section called “Debut Films of Chinese New Generation Directors,” and another called “North by Northwest,” which features documentaries made by directors from northwest China. The tour is set to touch down in Turkey in April with a film festival facilitated by the Chinese embassy. They are currently looking for more museums and universities interested in hosting their films.