China brings a slate of recent releases and presentations from film production companies and festival organizers to the market at the Busan Intl. Film Festival in hopes of rebooting the Middle Kingdom’s exchange with the global industries.
The China Film Pavilion will be open at the festival’s Asian Contents & Film Market, which runs Oct. 8-11. The pavilion’s organizer, China Film Co-production Corp., says the pavilion will follow the Marche du Film at the Cannes Film Festival.
“It is hoped that the China Film Pavilion can present the latest performance of Chinese films to the world more comprehensively, promote Chinese film institutions to explore the international market, advance overseas exchanges and cooperation and help more quality Chinese films go global,” says a spokesperson of the China Film Co-production Corp., which presents the pavilion with the support from China National Film Development Fund.
Exhibitors featured in the China Film Pavilion include some 20 production companies and festival organizers, including China Film Co., Bona Film Group, CMC Pictures, Beijing and Hainan fests.
Highly anticipated home-grown productions will also be in the spotlight. “Born to Fly,” a Chinese propaganda military film set against the backdrop of the decades of modernization of the People’s Liberation Army Air Force, will be among the highlights. Directed by Liu Xiaoshi and produced by Han Han, the famed author, writer-director and car racer, the film that appears to be China’s answer to “Top Gun: Maverick” follows the journey of a highly skilled pilot. It stars Wang Yibo, Hu Jun and Zhou Dongyu. The film’s to be released this year.
Another feature to be presented will be “Home Coming,” a thriller based on the true story of a Chinese diplomat and his junior colleague’s risky attempts at rescuing more than a hundred Chinese nationals who were trapped in war-torn North Africa. Pic is directed by Rao Xiaozhiand, starring Zhang Yi and Wang Junkai. It is scheduled for a release this year. While stringent COVID-19 travel restrictions are still in place across China, and hard lockdowns are implemented from time to time in various parts of the country, its film industry has shown signs of recovery after a troubling year due to the pandemic.
In all 740 films were made last year, according to statistics provided by the China National Film Development Fund. Last year, attendance at cinemas rose to 1.17 billion tickets sold, a 12.96% increase from the previous year. Box office also increased by 31.46% to 47.3 yuan ($7.4 billion); however, the first half of 2022 showed a big drop in B.O. Still summer blockbuster “Moon Man” gave reasons for a bounce back in the second half of the year. The total number of screens across the country also reached 82,248, an 8% rise over 2020, showing a sign of “a gradual recovery of the audience’s passion for cinema,” says the rep for the China Film Co-production Corp.
“The total number of films produced, cinema attendances, box office and the total number of screens all recovered to more than 65% of [the numbers from] 2019,” the spokesperson adds.
The presence of the pavilion during the Busan festival marks the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and South Korea. This is also the year of the China-Republic of Korea Year of Cultural Exchanges.
“We hope to share with global counterparts the hard-won achievements of China’s film industry has made in 2021, regaining confidence in the recovery of the industry, as well as rebooting international exchanges and cooperation in the field, including participation of international film festivals at home and abroad,” says China Film Co-production Corp.