Fan Bingbing Calls On Chinese Filmmakers To Support Arthouse Cinemas

The A-list celebrity’s call comes on the heels of Weying’s deal to buy nine arthouse titles from Wild Bunch to screen in China.

Chinese actress Fan Bingbing called on Chinese filmmakers to become more actively engaged in building a domestic arthouse cinema scene in the world’s second-largest entertainment market.

Fan, one of the world’s highest-paid film figures, made the comments to Chinese media as she completed her role as a judge on the 70th Cannes Film Festival jury, alongside Hollywood star Will Smith, and director Pedro Almodovar.

Speaking to Chinese media, the actress said that few domestic filmmakers actually aim to have their films make it into foreign film festivals and instead only “think about the box office and not the artistic merit of their films.”

Fan said that in the current domestic market, “with so many commercial films dominating the box office charts, arthouse films face financing, shooting, and distribution problems.”

Fan has taken star turns in Hollywood blockbusters including Iron Man 3 and X-Men: Days of Future Past and has also won the Best Actress award most recently for I Am Not Madame Bovary at the San Sebastian International Film Festival in Spain last year and for Buddha Mountain at the Tokyo International Film Festival in 2010.

China’s arthouse scene got an unexpected boost at the prestigious festival when online ticketing and marketing giant Beijing Weying Technology acquired Chinese distribution rights to nine Wild Bunch films that were playing there.

The films include competition films Loveless from Andrey Zvyagintsev, Michel Hazanavicius’ Redoubtable, Jacques Doillon’s Rodin, Lynne Ramsay’s You Were Never Really Here, A Gentle Creature, and festival film Ismael’s Ghosts. Weying also took rights to Un Certain Regard selection Tesnota; 12 Jours, which played as a special screening; and Racer and the Jailbird, which is in post-production.

Weying is a founding member of the Nationwide Alliance of Arthouse Cinemas led by the State Administration of Press, Publications, Radio, Film, and Television’s China Film Archive, which covers 100 cinemas in 31 Chinese provinces and autonomous regions.

The deal, which was brokered by Creative Artists Agency, which also represents Fan, is aimed at bringing diversity to Chinese theatrical audiences and to promote world-class movies to Chinese audiences.

Weying, which has previously promoted more commercial fare like London Has Fallen, xXx: The Return Of Xander Cage and The Fast And Furious, on its Weipiao platform, will now be hoping to lure Chinese audiences with more artistic films using the Cannes imprimatur.