China Canada Co-Production Initiative Opens World's Largest Market

2011-12-07 09:29:17        Chinese Films

Logo of the Three Companies [Photo: baidu.com]

The Whistler Film Festival Society (WFFS) and Telefilm are working with China Film Group to create a program that will foster on-going opportunities for Canadian content creators and media producers to work with Chinese production companies.

China Film Group Corporation is China's largest and most influential state-run film enterprise and the sole importer of foreign films in China.

Telefilm Canada is a federal cultural agency dedicated to developing and promoting the Canadian audiovisual industry. Telefilm provides financial support to the private sector to create distinctively Canadian productions that appeal to domestic and international audiences. Telefilm also administers the Canada Media Fund's programs.

The goal of the new China Canada Script Competition is to create co-productions that will cross over to both China's domestic film market and the international film market. The domestic market in China has historically been beyond the reach of international productions, except for a handful of blockbuster-type films that make it onto Chinese screens each year. This initiative will provide Canadian producers with an unparalleled opportunity to access one of the world's largest and fastest growing film markets. China Film Group Corporation is China's largest and most influential state-run film enterprise and the sole importer of foreign films in China.

WFFS has worked diligently with Telefilm and China Film Group over the past year to pioneer The China Canada Script Competition.

The China Canada Script Competition aims to create production opportunities for experienced Canadian scriptwriter/producer teams by introducing them to Chinese studios with production financing.

"An initiative of this magnitude and scope has never been done before. The entire film world is looking for ways to develop relationships with China and this initiative does just that," says Harry Sutherland, Chair of WFFS's China Canada Gateway For Film.

In 2011, Telefilm Canada came on board as a founding sponsor of the initiative and provided $25,000 in funding for WFFS to research the concept and take initial steps to develop the program. Since then work has begun on designing the details of The China Canada Script Competition, with a target to announce a call for submissions mid-year. A number of script synopses will be chosen and presented at the 2012 Whistler Summit. The scripts will be pitched to Chinese production companies who will choose projects they want to work on. This is an unprecedented opportunity for Canadian scriptwriters.

With its close proximity to Hollywood, the Chinese film industry sees WFFS as a desirable entry point into North American talent and distribution opportunities. WFFS's recent alliance with Variety Magazine, the world's largest entertainment publication, has further supported the Chinese film industry's view that WFFS can open distribution opportunities for North America.

As the world's second largest economy, China is set to overtake Japan and become the second largest cinema market after the US. According to the China Film Producers' Association, by 2015 China will have built more than 7,000 new cinemas, and have annual box-office receipts of up to £3.7bn. The industry in China is growing at 30% per year.

The Whistler Film Festival is supported by Telefilm Canada, Service Canada, BC Film and the Resort Municipality of Whistler, and is sponsored by American Airlines, DARE, the Directors Guild of Canada, BC, Tourism Whistler, Whistler Blackcomb, Variety and Zoom Audio Visual Networks and Christie Digital.

Source: Media Caster

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