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Jia Zhangke to Build First Art House Cinema in Beijing

2012-03-13 15:15:20        Chinese Films

Jia Zhangke helped promoting art-house film "Hello! Mr. Tree" last year. [Photo: ent.qq.com]

Regarded as a trendsetter among the sixth generation of Chinese directors, Jia Zhangke, winner of numerous foreign film awards and festivals, announced on March 11 that he is currently looking for an estate upon which to build a cinema that will exclusively screen art-house films, chinesefilms.cn reports.

On his weibo account, Jia posted that he was, "Going eastward to see the land. The cinema will be complete next year. We must serve the literary youth well." Just a few minutes later, he added, "It will be a single room cinema with about 100 seats in Beijing."

The announcement caused something of a stir among filmmakers on the popular microblogging platform, weibo. Wang Xiaoshuai, who is now promoting his latest art film "11 Flowers," commented under Jia's original message that, "Mr. Jia is awesome! I've been thinking about doing something like this for such a long time but failed to implement such a vision." Another user commented that the creation of such a cinema will be a huge breakthrough for art-house films in China.

Jia had said in a previous interview that the concept behind building an art-house film cinema is that it must provide audiences with continual access to the movies they hope to see. "The cinema should have its unique orientation and maintain its promise towards the audience," he said. "This doesn't mean that we show just several art-house films for a few days a week and then offer a similar screening schedule like that of normal cinemas during the rest of the time."

Jia Zhangke is currently working on his first big-budget movie, "At Qing Dynasty", which has a budget of over 100 million RMB. Despite winning a number of international awards, director Jia has never achieved satisfactory box office returns in his homeland. With his latest project, "At Qing Dynasty," many people believe that Jia is transitioning from a small-budget director into a blockbuster movie kingpin.

By Chen Nan

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