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High-tech fueling rise of Chinese sci-fi films

2019-03-08 15:10:35        China Daily

Building on the know-how gained in the making of The Wandering Earth will be key to developing the genre in the future, Kong Wenzheng and Judy Zhu report in New York.

Guo Fan is taking the Chinese sci-fi movie industry to a place where it has never been before.

The director of the box-office smash The Wandering Earth told China Daily before a screening event on Feb 24 that he is optimistic about the ability of China's movie industry to catch up with Hollywood, using the help of modern advanced technology.

Having already grossed$650 million, The Wandering Earth, adapted from Hugo Award winner Liu Cixin's short story, is the second highest-grossing film in China's box-office history and considered by many as a pioneer of a new era in Chinese sci-fi film.

The film plots a desperate mission to save planet Earth from being devoured by the dying sun by propelling it out of the solar system and into a new star system in the remote galaxy.

Guo, 39, is humble about the film's success and positive about the future. He believes that the current gap between the Chinese film industry and Hollywood is too wide.

"Looking back, we find ourselves equivalent to the Hollywood of 25 or 30 years ago", in terms of production standards, Guo says of the Chinese film industry.

Ten years-that's the time needed by the Chinese film industry to narrow the gap with the help of modern technology, he says.

Even in terms of special effects, a better-developed area of the Chinese film industry, there's still a 10 to 15-year gap, he says.

Guo witnessed the speed of development of the Chinese film industry's technical capabilities during the production of The Wandering Earth.

The Wandering Earth reflects a major investment in special effects and postproduction enhancement.

The film has over 2,000 special effects scenes based on more than 3,000 conceptual designs, involving 10,000 specially designed props.

It also relied on two of China's best physical special effects companies, according to Guo.

"I believe if we have more opportunity to create these types of films, and if more of our Chinese peers join the trend to create sci-fi films, we will really pick up speed and can match, or even surpass, Hollywood," he says.

Continuous production of high-quality sci-fi films is needed to develop a "Chinese sci-fi" film genre, Guo says.

"I definitely hope we can see several good sci-fi films coming out of China every year like we do from Hollywood," he says. "Chinese people are not short of imagination. What we lack today is the capability of transforming our vision into actual scenes in a film."

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