China's new filmmakers praised in foreign market forum
The forum featured industry experts discussing the future of emerging Chinese directors in both domestic and global markets. Pic by CFP
By Liza Li
The new generation of filmmakers in China are producing impressive works that surprise both the film industry and market with fresh perspectives and engaging storytelling, a forum at Shanghai International Film Festival was told yesterday.
The filmmakers are also shining at international film festivals, the SIFFORUM on new generation filmmakers in the international market heard.
The forum featured industry experts discussing the future of emerging Chinese directors in both domestic and global markets.
Chinese director Li Ruijun, who has made five feature films since 2006, said that going to film festivals is a great opportunity to meet other directors and people to aspire to.
“You can see their latest works, what they focus on and how they tell stories ... it’s also about learning and exchanging ideas,” Li said.
American distributor and producer Michael J. Werner, a jury member on the Asian New Talent Award, agreed it’s wonderful that young directors, producers and actors are going to film festivals.
“It’s important to see how the rest of the world operates in the film industry by going to festivals and interacting," he said. "It helps the Chinese industry to better understand how the world thinks and how it works. I think it makes you a better director, actor and producer.”
Werner said that when he was a distributor, going to film festivals was great to meet young filmmakers.
Actress Dream Li said attending international film festivals was important for actors and actresses to meet excellent directors and actors. “It's also an opportunity to show the real images of China to the world,” she said.
Li Ruijun, whose “Walking Past the Future” was the only Chinese-language film in this year’s Cannes Official Selection, said a director must have passion for films rather than enjoy the role of director.
Wang Zijian, producer and general manager of Blackfin Productions, supported the presence of big stars in art house films to attract more audiences.
“We haven’t had many famous actors with wide influence," he said.
"From the producer’s perspective, we should think about the market and how to bring more audiences. We can only be sure what the story is. Selecting actors is easy but it's important to have the right person for the role in terms of budget and schedule,” he added.
In the overseas market, Chinese commercial films are not as strong as art house films, the forum was told.
Werner explained that when Chinese films go overseas, they are considered foreign language films and more suitable for "art house" exhibition. Audiences, therefore, are not be interested in China's love stories or comedies.
“It’s hard to find a balance between what’s commercial here and what’s commercial overseas," he said. "It’s easier to find audiences for art house films overseas, but we are still looking for a new kind of film that’s very commercial in China and very commercial overseas,” he said.
Li Ruijun, whose “Walking Past the Future” was the only Chinese-language film in this year’s Cannes Official Selection. Pic by CFP