As the opportunities for Sino-European collaboration in film production continue to flourish, one of the biggest challenges is still the cultivation of relationships and trust. To tackle this situation, the Sino-European producers’ association Bridging the Dragon organizes its fifth Sino-European Project Lab in Beijing from October 16th to 20th, bringing together over 80 film professionals from both sides to network and develop relationships.
This edition will also be the start of the collaboration between Bridging The Dragon and the new and growing Hainan Island International Film Festival. The Hainan Festival will select one of the projects from the Lab to participate in its H!Action Project Market and compete for up to 6 million RMB of cash award (approx. 770.000 €). Meanwhile, a project from H!Action will be given the opportunity to present at next year’s Bridging the Dragon Project Lab in Europe.
Among this year’s script tutors there are renowned figures like Sun Xiaohang, screenwriter of Ning Hao’s box office hit Crazy Alien ($310M Chinese box office), Cha Muchun, screenwriter of Huang Bo’s The Island ($190M Chinese box office) and Roland Moore, head writer of the Chinese remake of the Channel 4 / AMC drama Humans.
Among the production experts are industry professionals of diverse backgrounds and experiences, such as Michael Frenschkowski from Austrian Terra Mater Factual Studios, a branch of Red Bull; representative from major German film & TV production company Ziegler Film; Egor Borschevsky from the Ukrainian post-production arm of Film UA Group, which has largely involved in such Chinese blockbusters as Looking Up, Kjetil Omberg from 74 Entertainment, the Norwegian commercial production house behind recent local box office hit Opportunity Knocks.
Also, for the first time producers from New Zealand like former CEO of New Zealand Film Commission Dave Gibson will join as an advisor. Thanks to its co-production treaties with China and numerous European countries, New Zealand is positioned to play a unique role in facilitating Sino-European collaborations.
From the Chinese side representatives of Gravity Pictures who co-produced Chinese-American co-production blockbuster The Meg, Cai Gongming from Road Pictures, which is the China distributor of this year’s Oscar nominated Capernaum, Wang Yu from Ray Production who produced Jia Zhangke’s Still Life and Berlinale Silver Bear winner’s Crosscurrent.
The 16 selected film projects tap into a variety of genres and production models. But in general, this year’s participating projects take more of a commercial angle, aiming at finding space in the promising Chinese market.
From heart-warming family drama The Fencer, about the friendship between a stubborn elderly Chinese woman and a young adopted girl developed through fencing, produced by Scandinavia’s leading company Anagram Sweden to youth adventure live action Jommeke and the Cursed Pajama Island by Belgium-based Geronimo Film; romantic dramas like Chinese-English Dictionary by Munich-based K5 Film along with renowned director Wayne Wang; The Ballet Princess, true story of a Shanghainese girl in the 80’s whose dream of dancing becomes true when she is picked by the Royal Danish Ballet, produced by Danish Arena Film; Hidden Under Moss from the up-and-coming teams of DIDA Media and Lowkey Films from the UK; creative sci-fi Clicks from Mulholland Pictures; historic drama Les Célestes from France-Hong Kong based Mar Vivo which re-explores a painful page of history that links Europe and China during the World War. The Norwegian company Graham Film will bring us back in time to explore the centuries of spectacular stories of European adventurers in its Trading Tales.
Some of the Chinese projects concentrate on the growing family entertainment like Dragon the Kid produced by Zhou Hui; fantasy drama Mei, dealing with the love story of a character in an old French movie who steps out from the screen to reality, produced by veteran French Chinese producer Natacha Devillers; romantic dramas such as Fabio by Quantum Entertainment Media, a love story between a Chinese girl and an Italian painter in 18th century Italy, Miss Shanghai by Dream Machine Pictures, a romantic musical set in the old Shanghai; action drama Red Dog Express by New Loyal Entertainment, about a Chinese man who is dragged into the Italian criminal world; comedy family drama The Remarriage by Sun Films, about two wealthy old Chinese who decide to get married but turn their wedding banquet into a hysterical domestic war-zone. The selection of this year’s projects was also made in collaboration with festivals like FIRST International Film Festival and the ONE International Women’s Film Festival: Happy Journey and Last Will, whose team produced The Crossings which was selected into last year’s Pingyao Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon International Film Festival and this year’s Berlinale Generation; drama comedy Good Deal, about the funny cross-cultural encounters of migrants in Yiwu city.
“We are happy to learn that China has become the first outlet for European films and that many members of our association or participants of our events are one of the forces that shape the growth of the Chinese film industry. Whether in the field of co-production, acquisition, adaptation of films or the exchange of talents or resources, we will continuously spend our efforts in merging these two worlds for mutual benefits.” Says Cristiano Bortone, director/producer and Managing Director of Bridging the Dragon:
Bridging the Dragon is an association connecting European and Chinese film professionals. It organizes events at major international film festivals, provides networking opportunities and offers consultancy on producing films between Europe and China to its members. For more information about Bridging the Dragon and the Lab, please visit www.bridgingthedragon.com