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LOCARNO 2015 Industry

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Bridging the Dragon discusses co-producing and shooting in China


- LOCARNO 2015: Chinese film-industry players explored the latest trends in the film market; Europe can contribute both quality and experience

Bridging the Dragon discusses co-producing and shooting in China

Europe can bring quality and experience to the Chinese market. But they also say that China is not the Eldorado that many believe it to be. The project has to be formatted to fit within China's rules and market. 

On Saturday 8 August, Bridging the Dragon – an association connecting European and Chinese film professionals – held a panel discussion within the Industry Days of the 2015 Locarno Film Festival. The Chinese panellists were Xian Su, head of development at DMG Entertainment, April Ye, CEO of Film Finances China and Chi Kwong Cheung, an independent producer based in Hong Kong. The discussion was moderated by Martin Gondre from Indie Sales.

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"All executives agreed that European projects must fulfil several conditions in order to potentially interest a Chinese partner in terms of budget, story, the Chinese elements and the cast. Only very few will have the chance to become an official co-production with China," said Gondre. 

It is therefore essential that Europeans understand and accept the requirements of the Chinese film industry. Currently, among the European countries, the UK, Italy, Spain, Belgium and France have a co-production treaty with China.

The panel followed the Bridging the Dragon Project Lab, which was held from 4-7 August in partnership with the Locarno Film Festival. After the successful launch of the lab in Songjiang, China, the five Chinese and five European teams reunited in Locarno for an ambitious follow-up.

The majority of the experts remained intact, so renowned film professionals like Shu Huan (scriptwriter of the Chinese box-office hit Lost in Thailand), Alex Jia (COO, Shanghai New Culture Media Group), Xian Su (DMG Entertainment), Chi Kwong Cheung (veteran Hong Kong film producer), Gino Ventriglia, Marietta von Hausswolff von Baumgarten and Leontine Petit (Lemming Film) journeyed to the Swiss film gathering.

Additionally, renowned professionals like April Ye; Rikke Ennis (TrustNordisk), who is producing True Beauty (a project selected in the lab); Xavier Castano (Loull Production), the producer of Wolf Totem [+see also:
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Stephan Holl (Rapid Eye Movies); Anthony Bobeau (Memento Films); Christine Beauchemin-Flot; and Ilann Girard (Arsam) participated in the lab and shared their experiences with the participants.

During the Industry Days, the projects had the chance to meet industry professionals, such as Catherine DussartElda Guidinetti and Marie Pierre Valle from such organisations as Wild Bunch, Picture Tree International and Fortissimo Films, and discussed the possibility of co-production or coming on board as a sales agent.

Programme director and head of studies Sophie Bourdon remarked: "We're very excited to have this delegation of prominent Chinese film professionals in Locarno. Not only do they help our lab participants to bridge the gap between China and Europe with their projects, but they also met Locarno's industry guests and will hopefully build new bridges. This is what our association is all about." 

"It was one of the most practical and useful workshops I've ever attended," said Charles Lei, who is already co-producing a project with Regina Ziegler from Germany.

During the four-day event, the ten selected projects continued to be developed in depth. The goal was to do so in a way that would enable them to appeal to markets both east and west by overcoming cultural barriers and inspiring a dialogue of minds. 

On 7 August, Bridging the Dragon hosted an Industry Happy Hour to facilitate the meeting of European and Chinese film professionals, as well as exchanges between participants from both continents.

The next event of the association will take place at the 2016 Berlinale. The labs are hosted and supported by the Locarno Film Festival and D'Hive Media Hub in the district of Songjiang, in collaboration with the TorinoFilmLab.

Bridging the Dragon is supported by the Creative Europe - MEDIA sub-programme, Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, D'Hive, the Italian Ministry of Culture (MIBACT), the FFA, the Netherlands Film Fund and the BFI. The festival partners are the European Film Market, the Locarno Film Festival and the First International Film Festival.

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