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China's Film Industry Short of Professionals

2013-04-22 09:53:07 Quarterly

China's film industry is booming with Chinese filmmakers producing nearly 900 films last year.

But film industry insiders and experts believe China faces a severe shortage of professional moviemakers.

Experts also urge that more international exchanges be arranged to improve the professional quality of film-related professionals. CRI's Wei Tong has more.

China has become the world's second-biggest movie market, with its box office sales surging more than 30-percent year on year. Statistics from the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television indicate that Chinese filmmakers produced 893 films last year, including 745 feature films and 33 animated ones.

But Yin Hong, director of the Research Centre for Film and Television Communication at Tsinghua University, says although Chinese filmmakers produced nearly 900 films last year, the number of good competitive movies was disappointingly small. He describes filmmaking professionals in China in the same vein.

"We have a large number of people involved in the filmmaking industry, but China still lacks high-level professionals, including elite filmmakers capable of conducting international exchanges, outstanding playwrights, directors and editors as well as cinema photographers and those who deal with lighting and sound effects."

Earlier, Wang Zhongjun, president and CEO of Huayi Brothers Media Company, expressed the same opinion, complaining about the shortage of talented directors and playwrights in film production companies such as his.

"The successful movies made by Huayi Brothers Media Company in recent years have been the brainchild of just a few film directors. I think nowadays China mostly lacks professionals with creative ideas. The good movies a company produces every year solely depend on the creative thinking of a very small number of directors and playwrights."

Filmmaking usually comprises three parts: pre-production, the shooting of the film, and post-production. Directors, playwrights and shooting crews are involved in the first two phases. Yin Hong points out that there is an embarrassing shortage of editing professionals in the post-production phase.

"It is a trend nowadays that the filmmaking largely relies on the post-production phase which takes longer than the actual shooting of the film. But China is suffering from a severe shortage of the professionals who are good at post-production. So we've found that although a large number of people are involved, only a small number are suitable for the development of China's film industry.

In other words, we have a large quantity but lack good quality. A shortage of professionals in one specific area even makes the training of those professionals good at various fields in the film industry lose their basis."

In the film and video industry, makeup artists play an important role in the overall appearance of the actors. Not only does a makeup artist strive to make each person on the big or small screen look as good as possible, but he or she may also be required to make them look older, younger, injured or even actually alter some aspect of their physical appearance with makeup and masks or partial masks.

Bai Lijun, a senior makeup artist for Bayi Film Studio of the People's Liberation Army, believes China lacks high-level experienced cinema makeup talent and calls for relevant training.

"There are a huge number of people who work in film makeup in China. However, China should emphasize the training of mid-level and high-level film makeup professionals, particularly in the area of relevant techniques of character modeling and design. In this regard, we have a lot to do.

During the ongoing Beijing International Film Festival, a number of nationally and internationally famous film makeup experts have been invited to give lectures in a bid to improve the professional quality of Chinese who do film makeup, which I believe is greatly significant."

Even though the film festival is an annual event and cannot replace regular training, Bai believes it can serve as a valuable platform for the exchange of ideas with world masters in this field.

"During the film festival, the 2013 Oscar Best Makeup and Hair-styling Winner Julie Dartnell told us in great detail how she had made up the characters for the film 'Les Miserable,' which is our favorite film. I remember she started from making a scar on a character's head to how she would technically make a character really look like a middle-aged gentleman and senior citizens.

Meanwhile, the Chinese makeup professionals also told their peers from other nations how they had made an actor's or actress's hairstyle in the fashion of an ancient man or woman with the use of wigs."

The 3rd Beijing International Film Festival, which started on April 16th, runs until April 23rd. It contains many forums related to film and technology.

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