On the afternoon of June 16, the International Producers Summit Forum was held at the 22nd Shanghai International Film Festival SIFFORUM. This forum focuses on the two major issues of big studio film production and art film production. It invited international renowned filmmakers at home and abroad to share practical experience and explore the career boundaries and future development trends of the industry.
Ellen R. Eliasoph, President and CEO of Village Roadshow Entertainment Group, Wei Jiang, Senior Assistant President of Wanda Pictures and General Manager of Wanda Media Co., Ltd., Siddharth Roy Kapur, Producer of DANGAL, Chairman of Indian Producers Association and founder of Roy Kapur Films, and Jerry Ye, General Manager of H. Brothers Film Co., Ltd., attended the round table. Guoxian Huang, Vice President of the Chinese Film and TV department of WME-IMG, was invited to host the forum. The guests had a dialogue on the professional challenges of the producers, changes in the Chinese film market, and emerging technologies etc.
In the production professional challenge perspective, the guests agreed that producer must have comprehensive knowledge preparation, and at the same time, the producer must have the ability to cope with various problems. "The producers have to make a lot of weighs, to help the director, and to make trade-offs on creativities and business returns." Siddharth Roy Kapur, producer of DANGAL, said.
When discussing the changes in the Chinese film market, many guests all greed that the Chinese film market has undergone tremendous changes. Among them, Jerry Ye, General Manager of H. Brothers Film Co., Ltd. said that under the big background of Chinese culture returning with self-confidence, the Chinese film market not only follows the trend of global market changes, but also has its own characteristics.
Jerry Ye pointed out that, the progressions of content, multi-screen era, and ecological reconstruction are concurrent with the global market, but the rapid development and popularization of China's e-commerce platform directly brings about changes in the audience's way of entertainment, making China's speed of progression faster than the North American market. "It is the profoundest change. And it will bring about revolutionary change." Jerry Ye believed that change will directly and fundamentally affect the way of release and promotion. If the traditional release and promotion company does not learn, it will be weeded out.
Ellen R. Eliasoph, President and CEO of Village Roadshow Entertainment Group, directly said that Chinese films have really entered the golden age. Ellen R. Eliasoph believed that the Chinese audience's film consumption taste and quality judgment ability are constantly improving, and the types of film they would like to view are becoming more diverse, which will encourage creators and producers. In addition, the Chinese audience's viewing behavior naturally has a preference for collective experience, which also provides the further development of Chinese film with a large room for imagination.
Wei Jiang, General Manager of Wanda Media Co., Ltd., further expressed that social type will render the film consumption related to offline viewing scenes more vitality. In his view, the Chinese film still has great development impetus at the infrastructure level under the great changes.
As for the influence of AI, block chain, 5G, VR/AR and other technologies on the film, the guests admitted the influence on the production by technology, at the same time, they also pointed out the importance of taking content as the core.
Jerry Ye stressed that film is driven by creation, and we must learn to use technology to push the story. Chinese film still needs further development in technology application. "The Chinese is one of the nations in the world good at telling stories. On one hand, we must be proud of our national culture; on the other hand, we must learn and accept the most advanced technology in the world and use it to help with story-telling. This is the proposition, responsibility, and mission faced by us filmmakers." Jerry Ye concluded.
Art film production:
Internationalization, script theme and local opportunity
Tom Moore, the co-founder of Irish Cartoon Saloon Animation Company and producer of THE BREADWINNER, and Elaheh Nobakht, Iranian art film producer and overseas producer, Chinese producer, actor An Nai and others attended the round table. Meng Xie, the founder of the overseas publishing and international production company Rediance, and the partner of production company Blackfin was invited to host it. The topics discussed involved the status of overseas art films, artistic scripts and directors' choices, art film financing etc.
Elaheh Nobakht, Iranian art filmmaker, mentioned in sharing of the development of Iranian art film that, in Iran, the director is also very concerned about the international audience apart from the local audience. Like many countries, Iranian art films also have the typical characteristics of "blossoming abroad", many internationally-reputed art films also have unknown domestic problems.
Tom Moore, co-founder of the Irish Cartoon Saloon Animation Company and a producer, taking the SONG OF THE SEA for an example, he pointed out art films can be considered at the beginning of production to expand their market by considering international audience.
In the selection of artistic scripts and directors, Chinese producer An Nai said that the script is in the first place, and the script must be good enough to impress people.
Elaheh Nobakht, Iranian art filmmaker, revealed that the theme is the first element of her consideration, and then the communication based on the theme with the director is the key step for her to consider whether to put forward the project. The director must have confidence and truly believe that this theme and the story itself can touch the audience. In addition, Elaheh Nobakht also mentioned that the global competition caused by emerging platforms such as streaming media, may render more considering of the film's ability to radiate to an international audience in choosing art film from producing perspective.
Tom Moore, co-founder of Irish Cartoon Saloon Animation Company, said that the most important criterion for his the selection of art film projects is that the project must have the truth inside, and these painful truths have a wide resonance. "A good film makes you feel that you are not so lonely in this world." Tom Moore said that the expression of the painful truths will be conducive to the promotion of the film on a global scale.
The financing of art films is a topic of concern to all art filmmakers. Chinese filmmaker An Nai said that as more and more art films are launched, the competition of original financing channels of art films is becoming fiercer and fiercer. From a global perspective, China's mainland has become an important gathering point for funds. The development of the China Art Film Alliance also let the market see room for improvement.
Elaheh Nobakht, Iranian art filmmaker, while agreeing with the An Nai’s viewpoint, also said that regardless of the limitations of the budget, the financing of art films still needs to find the target investors, and after determine the target investors, to tell a good story is the most important.
As an important part of the Shanghai International Film Festival, the SIFFORUM will be held from June 16th to 21st, including 10 forums and 3 "Film Class" activities. The 22nd Shanghai International Film Festival will celebrate the 70th birthday of China and promote China's transition from a big film-producing country to a powerful film-producing country. Deep in all aspects of the film industry and focusing on topics such as film industrialization, industrial chain, science fiction film, film education, and mainstream film innovation etc., exchange wisdoms, and at the same time, and show the all-round vitality of Chinese film by implementing and deepening the of "the Belt and Road" film exchange and presenting film art.