Berlin, 5 March 2021 – As the pandemic continues to hit the film industry worldwide, the market in China is thriving with cinemas fully open. During the week of Chinese New Year holidays in February the local box office hit the record of $1.2 billion. Being connected with this market has become now more strategic than ever. On Wednesday, March the 3rd the European Film Market in collaboration with the producers’ association Bridging the Dragon, hosted for the seventh year in a row its “Sino-European Forum”.
The program was kicked off with a webinar on documentary in China held by QI Kang, CEO of Brilliantly Studio a branch of iQIYI, one of the local biggest streaming platforms. Mr. Kang thinks that there is a huge potential for documentary in China not only for streaming platforms where the numbers are enormous but also for theatrical release. On international collaboration, Mr. Qi is witnessing many foreign talents starting to make documentaries in China and thinks that cross-cultural collaborations will definitely have more and more space in the future.
Han Lina, Senior Manager of the top Chinese TV drama house Perfect World Pictures, analysed the TV & streaming landscape of China. The company produces between 600 and 800 episodes of TV dramas every year, most of which are aired on satellite TV stations on prime time. “Streaming platforms in China have transitioned from mere distribution channels to becoming mini studios which create their own contents”, said Mrs Han. Looking into the future, she envisions that only the top production companies will have enough resources and bargaining power to have high profit margin with the platforms, while small- to medium- sized companies will become just content providers. When it comes to collaborating with Europe, Mrs. Han was optimistic and emphasised how crucial is the intersection of stories and characters between the two cultures in order to make the content appealing to both audiences.
It is the first time that the event touches these two topics and this shows how the Chinese market is changing quickly, giving space to new genres and becoming closer to the international one.
The Forum continued with five roundtables on practical topics for a selection of 75 European producers. The experts were Ma Shuang, Vice President of Hengye Group one of the main distributors in the country; Liu Qingling, producer at Alibaba Pictures and of Cannes’ official selection title Striding Into the Wind, among others; Wan Ying, Director of Film Department at Ruyi Films another mini major behind such recent astonishing successes “Detective Chinatown” or “Hi, mom” ($800m Chinese box offic and rising) ; Sean Chen, co-founder of veteran production house L’Avventura Films, specialised in arthouse films and, from the European side, Oliver Zeller, funding executive of Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg.
This year’s Berlin event was wrapped up on Friday, March the 5th with a networking party. The technical challenges between the two worlds did not stop Chinese and European professionals to gather online to reconnect and keep alive the flame of Sino-European collaborations. Learn more about Bridging The Dragon and the Sino-European Film Forum here