June 14th, 2018 VOL.3
Chinese viewers embrace realism of TV dramas, forum told
By Joyce Xu (Shanghai Daily)
Chinese viewers' enthusiasm for realistic TV dramas is increasing, domestic industry experts told a TV forum during the ongoing 24th Shanghai TV Festival.
Many people were impressed last year by a number of TV dramas tackling real- life issues. These included the anti-corruption series“In the Name of the People”and “The First Half of My Life”which brought a lot of young viewers back to the genre.
Many famous TV professionals attended the forum titled “Building A Never- Ending Chinese Theater: Production and Innovation of Realistic TV Dramas.”
Among the speakers were series directors Liu Jiang and Shen Yan, screenwriters He Qing and Li Xiao, actor Wang Lei and actress Yin Tao. Liu Jiang, known for award- winning family drama “Beautiful Daughter- in- Law,”said that realistic TV drama was a mirror to contemporary life, era and personality.
“These dramas should tell inspiring and thoughtprovoking stories and convey positive energy,” Liu added.
Screenwriter Li Xiao said realistic TV drama combines reality and theater. It also reflects the most real aspects of human emotions and relationships.
“TV producers should not swarm to make certain types of subjects in this genre,”Li explained.“They can also innovate in cinematography and visual technology to attract young audiences.”
In the opinion of actor Wang Lei, realistic dramas usually have a strong compassion for people and offer deeper reflections on life.
“Shooting a realistic drama is also challenging for an actor,”Wang said.“An actor should never stop to learn and understand the era and the life of the characters.”
Insiders are also optimistic about the development of online series in China for their condensed story length, interactivity and imagination.
Famous TV professionals shared their opinions about Chinese realistic TV drama. （Pic by CFP）
Excellence the key to success in foreign markets, say TV experts
By Liza Li(Shanghai Daily)
A panel of TV production experts stressed the importance of offering excellent Chinese dramas to a wider range of audiences at home and abroad during the 24th Shanghai TV Festival yesterday.
The experts were participating in the Magnolia TV Forum addressing the theme of Chinese TV Series in the International Arena.
The opening keynote speech was given by Zhou Jihong, deputy director of International Cooperation at the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television.
He noted that feedback from overseas indicated global audiences strongly enjoyed Chinese TV series.
“It’s beyond our imagination, so we should be confident about the influence and competitiveness of Chinese TV series," Zhou said.
"Telling good Chinese stories is not only consistent with the trends, but also a requirement that enables China to enhance competitiveness internationally.”
David John Belshaw, international script producer of BBC Studio, said the writer was the most important element in TV series production.
“People around the world only want to see the best of the best, the really successful series. People also want to adapt. They need to understand and see how the story can be told,”said Belshaw.
He said crime is the major genre that attracts global audiences. In the UK, complicated characters and stories with crime themes are popular, he added.
Coco Ma, general manager of drama at Youku, Alibaba Digital Media and Entertainment Group, emphasized that years ago the international market mostly recognized only Chinese costume dramas. But now, more genres such as crime and urban drama are favored by overseas audiences.
“But it's also a difficult, confused situation as Chinese TV series are mostly watched by Chinese who live abroad. Letting more local audiences enjoy the productions is a problem,”Ma said.
“The important thing is to improve the overall production quality and storytelling so all content can be promoted and better developed in the international market,”she added.
Zhao Yifang, founder and president of Huace Group, said the company had been distributing overseas for more than a decade and perseverance was a key to development.
“Going to exhibitions at film festivals back then was quite lonely," Zhao said. "But in recent years, a lot of Chinese companies are joining hands to take excellent productions overseas. It's greatly encouraging for us.”
A panel of TV production experts discussed the situation of Chinese dramas, to launch in foreign markets. (Pic by CFP)
Jury members share ideas on what makes great TV viewing
By Liza Li (Shanghai Daily)
The jury panel of the 24th Shanghai TV Festival Magnolia Awards met the press yesterday, sharing insights on what makes great TV dramas, documentaries and animations.
"The winning works should have the qualities of deep thinking, exquisite production and artistic value,”said chairman of the drama award category, Chinese screenwriter Heping Liu.
Liu is known for his work on“Yongzheng Dynasty,”“Li Wei the Magistrate 1,”“The Sea in One Hundred”and “All Quiet in Peking.”
He is joined on the jury by Chinese director and producer Gao Qunshu, actress Xu Fan, screenwriter, director and producer Xu Jizhou and actor, director and screenwriter Zhao Lixin.
“Drama series must have feelings, expressions and uniqueness that can touch the audiences heart. They must be able to relate to the stories and characters,” said Gao Qunshu.
Xu Jizhou noted that another important aspect is a sincere creative attitude. TV drama makers should convey their thinking about an era to reach the audience.
Judges for drama in the best foreign TV film and series awards are Lee Mason, drama commissioning executive at UK PSB Channel 4, and Steven Long Mitchell, American writer, producer and director .
Chairman of the documentary jury panel, British producer Nick Fraser, said the Chinese documentaries the panel had watched were excellent. He also said Chinese audiences should strive to watch more documentaries made about China by foreign producers and directors.
Japanese documentary director Tetsuaki Matsue stressed that documentaries were about facts and how cameras could capture humanity to tell the most realistic stories.
Chinese documentary director Peng Hui emphasized that homegrown producers have a more narrow choice of themes they can cover compared to foreign productions but that will change as society transforms.
Chair of the animation jury panel, UK producer and independent consultant Kay Benbow, noted that some of the nominated animation works have been around for a long time.
“It’s all about finding new ways to tell stories," said Benbow. "There are series in the UK which have survived because they are very popular. I think it’s about understanding what touches everybody. Is it kindness? Is it helping fellow human beings?”
She said that what changes are the techniques, the looks and the style. Benbow stressed that, having worked for young audiences all her career, producing animation is about helping them understand the world so they can be confident, happy and better people for the future.
Hasnul Hadi Samsudin, vice- president of creative content and technologies at Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation, added:“I think there’s a lot of sharing and conversation that needs to be done so we can understand all the different cultures.”
The Magnolia Awards will be announced on June 15.
Press Conference for the STVF Jury. (Pic by CFP)
Gao Qunshu, Chinese famous director, one of Jury members. (Pic by CFP)
Tencent to target Internet viewers with more realistic dramas
By Joyce Xu (Shanghai Daily)
Tencent Pictures announced it will produce more thought- provoking and realistic dramas for Internet viewers at the on- going 24th Shanghai TV Festival yesterday.
Cheng Wu, vice- president of Tencent and CEO of Tencent Pictures, said the realistic series would cover a wide range of subjects in life and vividly portray different groups of people.
One of the eye-catching productions will be "Face to Sea," a period drama about an entrepreneurial couple in Guangdong Province.
Starring Liu Tao and Wang Lei, it pays tribute to the achievements of China’s reform and opening- up. It also depicts the vicissitudes of the city of Shenzhen over the past 40 years.
Another, "The World Is Not Fraudulent," will be China’s first series about phone scams. Starring Guo Xiaodong and Xu Yue, it portrays Chinese cops’efforts to fight against a giant fraud group.
Chen Yuxin, scriptwriter of the legal drama "Burning DNA," said realistic dramas can have strong appeal to young viewers if the stories are told from novel perspectives.
The new productions by Tencent Pictures will also include "Chinese Peacekeeping Force" and "The Urban Family," a series about ethnic minority people’s lives in big cities.