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Details of a massive new film studio complex now being built in Changchun, North East China, have began this week to emerge on the sidelines of the city’s film festival.

Construction began in May on the Changchun International Movie Metropolis project which is forecast to be valued at some $21.5 billion (RMB148 billion), and could start to come on stream in 2023. Among its facilities will be a 35-stage film studio and a theme park expected to attract 10 million tourists annually.

Changchun, a city of more than seven million people, in what was once Manchuria, is closer to Vladivostok in Russia and to the North Korean border than it is to Beijing. Historically, it is a city that was built on railways and car manufacturing, but it also boasts film industry connections that go back to the time of Japanese occupation and the Manchukuo Film Association. The Changchun Film Studio operates major facilities in the city and since 1992 has been the host of the Changchun Film Festival.

The festival held its 15th edition from Sept. 5-10, 2020, and was operated as an in-person event with screenings and a closing ceremony in front of live audiences.

Spring Tide,” a Changchun-made drama about three generations of women, won the Golden Deer Grand Jury Prize and the best director award for Lina Yang. Last year’s nationalist anthology movie “My People, My Country” was named best film.

The Changchun International Movie Metropolis is designed with six sectors: a film and TV production site; a 5G digital film and TV industrial base; a film-related educational center; a film-themed tourism complex; an incubation facility; and a headquarters unit.

The six central units are located in a 7 km2 core. The core site will house a museum, a theater, restaurants, a shopping mall, resort hotels, international schools, and hospitals. The larger complex sprawls over 1,051 km2 consisting of the High-tech Industrial Development Zone and the main part of Lianhua Mountain Tourist Resort.

Other details reported by state media CGTN suggest that: the film and TV studios will include a massive stage of 12,000 m2; the 5G digital component will include post-production, servers and playout capabilities; and that Changchun Film and Bona Film Group will set up shop in the headquarters zone.
CGTN said that building the six bases would cost $5.12 billion (RMB35 billion). It also reported contracts for over 100 projects that lift the total amount of commitments to the $21.5 billion figure.

“From the creation and filming of the audiovisual works to their post-production, promotion and screening, as well as other supplementary sectors such as finance, tourism, animation and games, we will form a whole industry chain of the film and TV industry in the future, and a system of all links,” said Qu Guandong, director of the Economic Development Bureau of the Jingyue High-tech Industrial Development Zone, according to CGTN.

China already boasts two of the largest studio complexes in the world, at Hengdian and the Wanda-built Qingdao Movie Metropolis. Other relatively new studio facilities include the China Film complex at Huairou, near Beijing, and another at Wuxi.