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Bridging the Dragon 2023

Industry Report: Europe and the Rest of the World

The Bridging the Dragon Lab fosters collaboration between the European and Asian film industries

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The ninth edition of the event explored opportunities, ways to overcome challenges and methods of building partnerships

The Bridging the Dragon Lab fosters collaboration between the European and Asian film industries

The ninth edition of the Bridging the Dragon (BtD) Lab, a pivotal annual event facilitating collaboration between the European and Asian film industries, unspooled online from 11-13 December. This immersive gathering has become a key fixture for industry experts, providing a platform to analyse fast-growing Asian markets and forge potential collaborations with Europe.

Fan Zhang, BtD China manager and a producer from Yiyi Pictures, shed light on China's resilient market. Despite facing challenges, the 2023 box office is approaching pre-pandemic levels again, with domestic productions constituting a significant 83.4%. Pamela Bai from Hugoeast discussed the challenges faced by foreign-language films, emphasising the success of Japanese anime with a younger audience. However, the current financing shortage in China has sparked a newfound interest in collaboration with European counterparts.

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While mainland China poses challenges, Hong Kong and Taiwan are emerging as attractive alternatives for China-related content. Both regions have developed supportive policies for international co-productions. Taiwan, in particular, has a specific co-production fund, as explained by TAICCA representative Jennifer Huang. Saville Chan, an award-winning producer from Hong Kong, introduced a new co-production scheme specifically aimed at Europe, leading to the organisation of a European delegation to visit the next Filmart event in Hong Kong.

The territories of Malaysia and Thailand are attracting attention with their competitive costs, cash rebates and well-established shooting infrastructure. Kent Chan and Sirasak Koshpasharin discussed the potential for more international collaborations. Japan, a major player in the Asian market, announced its first co-production treaty with a European country, Italy. Despite Japan's traditional reliance on equity investments, this treaty signals a desire to broaden production boundaries. The lab highlighted projects with Japanese elements and emphasised the need for a nuanced understanding of local culture when co-producing with Japan, and Asia in general.

The event showcased a diverse array of projects, including the Spanish films Three Ages and Longquan, provided some arthouse-cinema insights from successful independent producers Liu Hui and Liang Ying, and showed off animated projects like Light Lost from Rocketsheep Studio and a 3D narrative from Druzina Content.

In conclusion, the Bridging the Dragon Lab's ninth edition proved to be a dynamic and insightful platform, fostering collaboration and exchange between the European and Asian film industries. As challenges persist, so too do opportunities, and the event highlighted the importance of understanding cultural nuances and exploring diverse avenues for successful partnerships in this ever-evolving landscape.

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