Beijing Film Festival spotlight’s China’s flourishing film industry

China 24

The big screen typically means big business. Nowhere is that more true than in China.

Its film industry is among the biggest in the world. And that has other countries taking notice.

CGTN’s Frances Kuo reports.

The bright lights, the red carpet, the big stars.

They were all part of the 8th annual Beijing International Film Festival.

A jury selected 15 films out of more than 650 entries from dozens of countries.

“I’m very happy to see so many stars that usually we only saw on television. Also I think this is a good opportunity for cultural exchange given there are many foreign movies featured here,” said Qin Si, a movie fan.

It’s also an opportunity to put the spotlight on China’s film industry.

“As the movie market develops fast in China, I think it’s very important to organize such an event of communication in Beijing, the center of Chinese movie culture,” said Wong Kar-wai, Chairman of the Festival jury.

Film companies in Beijing produced 350 domestic films last year — that surpasses anywhere else in China.

The capital has more than 200 movie theaters and counting.

“In the next two to three years, more cinemas will be built not only in Beijing’s urban areas, but also in villages,” Hu Dong, deputy director of the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and TV said. “We encourage film companies to turn old factories, warehouses, and old malls into multiplex theaters, to let more citizens enjoy watching movies on their doorstep.”

Beijing wants to drive the city’s film industry into even higher gear.

Over the past few years, the city has given more than $41 million to film producers to promote more high-quality domestic productions.

The hope is to showcase more domestic films abroad and encourage more foreign productions to Beijing.

At a translation workshop on the sidelines of the festival, participants said they’re interested in getting more content from China to their respective countries.

“People know China is becoming really, really strong and big,” said May-Britt Wilkens, a film translator from Germany.  “And everybody wants to know, or is interested in how Chinese people live, how China is from the inside.”

The festival has encouraged foreign filmmakers – like Renny Harlin – to do projects in China.

Harlin, who directed the 1990 blockbuster “Die Hard 2,” has a studio in Beijing.  He’s completed three co-productions in China.  And this year, he plans to direct a new Chinese film.

“Hollywood wants to understand what kind of movies work in China,” said Harlin.  “And they want to work with Chinese filmmakers and financiers to make movies that would work internationally.”

This year, Hollywood predicts China will soon overtake ticket sales in the United States and become the top film market in the world.

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