Daily News-June 17th
War movie 'Unbreakable Spirit' slated for China debut in August
By Joyce Xu(Shanghai Daily)
The war epic film“Unbreakable Spirit”will hit cinemas across China on August 17, officials announced at the ongoing 21st Shanghai International Film Festival.
Based on the bombing of Chongqing in southwestern China from 1938 to 1943, the film recounts the unbreakable spirit of Chinese people against the Japanese invasion.
Directed by Xiao Feng, the film stars award-winning mainland actor Liu Ye, Hollywood star Bruce Willis, South Korean actor Song Seung- heon and Taiwan actress Ning Chang.
Veteran Hollywood filmmaker and actor Mel Gibson was art director on the 3D movie which also attracted veteran foreign visual artists to present compelling special effects.
The film's scriptwriter, Chen Ping, said his story about this period of China's World War 2 history is told through the perspectives of ordinary people.
Festival unveils restored Shanghainese version of classic comedy
By Liza Li(Shanghai Daily)
A restored copy of the classic Shanghai film“Da Li, Xiao Li and Lao Li”dubbed in Shanghainese dialect was premiered yesterday during the 21st Shanghai International Film Festival.
The 1962 film was the only comedy from renowned writer and director Xie Jin (1923-2008), a prominent figure among China’s third generation of directors.
The restored film's dubbing director Qiao Zhen said the Shanghainese dialect version has fulfilled the long- held wishes of Xie as the film was produced in Shanghai.
“It’s exciting to have made a Shanghainese dialect version of the comedy," said Qiao. "We believe Xie would be pleased and I hope everyone can enjoy the film.”
It was a labor of love for Qiao and renown actors, including Xu Zheng, Zheng Kai, Shu Yue, Mao Shanyu, Cao Kefan and Zhang Jianya, who contributed their voice acting for no payment.
The Shanghainese dialect version of the film consists of 2K- image restoration and a newly composed soundtrack.
“Da Li, Xiao Li and Lao Li”is the story of three meatpacking factory workers whose last names were the same but they were distinguished by a prefix which explained their age difference.
Workshop director Lao Li, who was older than the other two, didn’t like any kind of sport, but his son Xiao Li was passionate about it more than anything else.
Labor union chairman Da Li, who was not an active person, was elected head of the factory’s sports association, so he began exercising.
Lao Li was worried the physical exercise would affect production efficiency and he asked Da Li’s wife to persuade him not to promote sport in the factory. Unexpectedly, Lao Li was convinced to participate in sport and later became a fan of Tai Chi.
The restored film and writer-director Xie’s“Hibiscus Town”and“Legend of Tianyuan Mountain” will be screened as part of the festival's Panorama tribute to film masters.
Film companies offer advice on 'golden age' opportunities
By Liza Li(Shanghai Daily)
China is en route to becoming the largest film market in the world, with 2018 first- quarter box office receipts reported to have overtaken North America, the SIFFORUM was told at the ongoing 21st Shanghai International Film Festival.
The growth was mainly contributed by domestic hits and, with adequate capital flowing into the ever- expanding market, the immediate task faced by the Chinese industry in this “golden age” was to create compelling content, experts said.
Yu Dong, founder, chairman and president of Bona Film Group, told yesterday's forum it was important to not follow the trends because making films was a solitary process.
“Chinese directors are enjoying the current conditions the most," Yu said. "They are increasingly unaware of budgeting and often don’t listen to producers because there are a lot of investors."
While Chinese film companies will experience great opportunities in the next 10 years, they will also be faced with bigger responsibilities, Yu said.
“In dealing with competition from the global market, they must also demonstrate their strength and influence,”he said.
James Wang, co- founder, vice- chairman and CEO of Huayi Brothers Media Corporation, noted that Chinese films are unique in terms of content and the market. In addition to meeting entertainment and box office needs, they have a role to play in demonstrating core values.
“Audiences should be able to experience the power of Chinese society through excellent film projects,”said Wang.
Fan Luyuan, chairman and CEO of Alibaba Pictures and CEO of Damai, said it was important to cultivate young directing and writing talent, artists who are the future of the film industry.
Ren Zhonglun, chairman of Shanghai Film Group and president of Shanghai Film Studios, said China was entering an era in which big production companies would dominate.
He cited the example of the top six U.S. film companies taking 85 percent of their domestic market and 26 percent of the global market. He noted these companies supported America’s leading status in the global film sector.
“In the past decade, we’ve primarily worked on building an industry chain because survival is difficult for a company that solely does production,”said Ren.
“For big companies, distribution strength will definitely drive the development of production. So in the future, Shanghai Film Group will prioritize distribution as a key aspect of movie development.”
He also stressed that as the Chinese film industry was growing so rapidly, it was time to do some rational and accurate analysis of it.
Jiang Ping, general manager of China Film Co Ltd, commented that Chinese film companies should keep on learning.
“We should open our eyes to produce films that are not only well- made artistically, but also have positive values,”he said.
China film industry needs to be more industrialized, say experts
By Cathy Ding(Shanghai Daily)
Chinese filmmakers should accept further organization of the film sector to promote efficiency and professionalism, industry experts said yesterday during the ongoing 21st Shanghai International Film Festival.
Senior executives, directors and market watchers agreed on the need during the "Industrialization of Chinese Cinema" discussion at SIFFORUM.
Li Jie, president of Alibaba Pictures' ticketing platform Taopiaopiao, noted the industrialization of filmmaking, along with budget controls, would help production houses to eliminate potential risk.
CEO of Huayi Brothers Media, Jerry Ye, said creating a virtual cinematic world would definitely require industrialization of filmmaking. He added the ability of producers and writers to create a wholesome story and characters was a driving force of the need.
He said China's filmmaking industry needed to build up its infrastructure, including filmmaking and production technology, and film professionals should all do their part to differentiate themselves from amateurs and audiences.
Village Roadshow Pictures Asia President and CEO, Ellen R. Eliasoph, said Chinese production houses should think more about introducing better storytelling and filmmaking techniques to allow viewers to have more options.
The challenges in the industrialization process included how to draw up appropriate rules and conditions for everyone to play their part, she added.
Liu Hongtao, president of Mahua FunAge Production, noted stronger organization was a prerequisite for the film market to go forward. However, he said it was definitely not a panacea that would solve problems once and for all for the filmmaking industry.
He admitted the current challenges faced by filmmaking were in finding professional talent and establishing proper standards for production.
Young Chinese director Guo Fan noted that cultural gaps and differences between Chinese and overseas markets posed a challenge for Chinese filmmakers' to embrace industrialization.
For example, he said, it's difficult to find a role model for a science fiction movie with a Chinese culture background that resonates with the feelings of Chinese viewers.
Panelists also discussed how to better leverage digital technology to help filmmakers gain more derivative income from merchandise. The commercialization process and product placement for film titles starts relatively early and required all parties along the industry chain to be involved.