|Wednesday, 16 March 2016, 18:00 HKT/SGT|
|Experts Discuss Cross-border Partnership along the Belt & Road|
HONG KONG, Mar 16, 2016 - (ACN Newswire) - How can the entertainment industry take advantage of the business opportunities brought by China's Belt and Road Initiative? At the TV World 2016 - International Forum held yesterday during the 20th edition of FILMART, industry experts discussed the importance of the Initiative to the cinema and TV industries, and predicted that cross-border film partnerships would become a major trend.
|From left: Forum moderator Peter Lam, Vice President, Hong Kong Televisioners Association; Giovanni Robbiano, Faculty Academy of Film & TV, Head of FAMU; Chen Bin, Senior Vice President of DMG YinJi Film, Television, Entertainment & Media Limited Company; Rezal Rahman, Chief Executive Officer, Pinewood Iskandar Malaysia Studios Sdn Bhd; and Vasily Korvyakov, Partner, Veles Film (Russia) take part in the seminar.|
Chen Bin, Senior Vice President of DMG YinJi Film, Television, Entertainment & Media Ltd Co, said the Belt and Road Initiative has brought the Belt and Road countries closer in terms of economic development and cultural exchange, and helped Chinese cinema and TV "go out" to the world. He said the unique culture and traditional stories of the different countries provide a treasure trove for filmmakers looking for ideas.
Rapid development of Chinese cinema and TV
Mr Chen said there are 32,000 cinema screens in the Chinese mainland generating impressive box office returns. Mermaid, directed by Hong Kong's Stephen Chow, has earned a record of Rmb 4 billion in box office sales in 2016. "China's box office is now on par with North America's," said Mr Chen.
He pointed out that the TV industry in the mainland is also undergoing rapid development. A recent TV series, Diamond Lover, starring famous Korean singer Rain and Chinese actress Tiffany Tang, recorded 10 billion views on the Internet. Anticipating immense market opportunities, Mr Chen said his company plans to bring together resources from different regions and elevate the status of Chinese cinema and TV on the world stage, collaborating in such areas as subject matter, filming technique, script development and casting, and benefiting from the expertise of overseas players through such partnerships.
Malaysia offers incentives to attract foreign production
Rezal A. Rahman, CEO of Pinewood Iskandar Malaysia Studios Sdn Bhd, said there are many locations suitable for film production in Malaysia. He hopes that Malaysia, with its experience in supporting foreign productions and production costs that are 10 per cent lower than that of the Chinese mainland, will be the shooting location of choice for more Chinese film and TV productions.
Mr Rahman said the Malaysian Government has been stepping up its efforts to attract foreign entertainment investment, such as offering a 30 per cent cash rebate on production costs for overseas productions shooting on location in Malaysia. "The US TV series Marco Polo, produced by Netflix, and Asia's Got Talent, the Asian edition of the popular variety show, both chose Malaysia as their filming location."
Touching stories that transcend borders
Vasily Korvyakov, Partner of Veles Media from Russia, pointed out that, because of cultural differences, the preferences of the audiences in different countries and the way they appreciate the same subject matter could be quite diverse. This is why it is important to achieve the right balance. "For a film to be well received in different regions, it needs to be easy to understand, and possible to be translated into different languages," he said, adding that it can sometimes be difficult for production teams from different countries to agree on how a particular story or character should be portrayed.
But under the Belt and Road Initiative, Mr Korvyakov said the interaction between the peoples of Russia and the mainland will certainly become more frequent, setting the context for many fascinating stories of love or deception, which will provide joint productions with a wealth of inspiration. "We may not be able to create epic productions, but we can tell stories that people from different countries can all relate to," he said.
Progress through cross-border partnerships
Giovanni Robbiano, Head of FAMU International, the Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, Czech Republic, said many of the students in his school came from the mainland, India and other Asian countries, which helps to promote East-West exchange. Some mainland students are participating in the Cannes Film Festival. He also believes that joint productions will be the trend, and hopes there will be more cross-border collaborations.
Mr Robbiano said the mainland entertainment market is constantly evolving and making breakthroughs via international collaborations. "CCTV hired one of my students who speaks both Chinese and Russian to produce a documentary on the Long March, hoping to tell the story from a new perspective." He said the opening up of societies has brought the cinema and TV industries of different countries closer, promoting progress that everyone in the entertainment business has been anticipating.
FILMART, which is a founding event of Entertainment Expo Hong Kong (14 March - 4 April), concludes tomorrow (17 March). Its 20th edition this year features some 800 exhibitors from 30 countries and regions and is a key international marketplace for the industry in Asia.
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