News 09.12.15

MAJOR CHINESE FILM DELEGATION VISITS AUSTRALIA



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On November 23rd, at Fox Studios Australia, a significant cross-section of the Australian film industry met with a major film delegation from China for an Australia China Co-production Forum, hosted by the Motion Picture Association (MPA), the Australian Screen Association (ASA), the International Chinese Film Festival (ICFF) and the China Cultural Center.

With co-productions between countries proving to be a tangible approach to working with the ever increasing Chinese market, the forum looked to fast track exchanges between representatives from the two screen industries and provide an environment for new co-production projects to match partners and expertise.

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The delegation was hosted by the ICFF and included Chinese filmmakers, actors, directors and film industry representatives on a week-long visit to Australia, meeting with Australian film industry representatives in Sydney, Brisbane, Gold Coast and Melbourne.

“As China grows to becoming the largest theatrical market in the world, and produces more films, there is a great deal of interest from the international screen community to engage with the Chinese film industry at every level. Australia is well placed to take advantage of this terrific opportunity,” said Mike Ellis, President and Managing Director, Asia Pacific, MPA.debra_incentives slide

In the first of two panels, Sonia Borella, Media, IP and Entertainment partner at Holding Redlich, moderated a discussion on Developing high-value IP in Australian-Chinese co-productions with speakers William Feng – Chief Representative China – MPA, Pauline Chan – Writer/Director (33 Postcards), LU Wei – producer (The Monkey King Returns), AN Xiaofen – producer and President, Desen International Media, and Colleen Champ – Program Manager, Co-production, Screen Australia.

 

“The Chinese market is dynamic and changing rapidly,” said LU Wei. “There is a large audience of young people aged between 15 and 25. This is an audience that does more than sit passively watching the movie – they are actively engaged in the whole movie ecosystem, which gives filmmakers the opportunity to engage with them on social media and get them interested in our story even during the development process.” The Monkey King Returns, said Mr. LU, became the highest grossing Chinese animation, hauling in over USD $150 million, off the back of huge social media engagement with a young fan base.danemaddams3

“Developing high value IP in co-productions,” said AN Xiaofen. “…requires evolving your movie brand for all potential markets across the world. Look to create IP that will become a household name.”

All panelists agreed that Australian filmmakers should consider developing a presence on the ground in China: “Choose a partner at the earliest stage of development to test whether your film idea will suit the Chinese market,” encouraged Pauline Chan. “Don’t waste your time doing four or five drafts of a screenplay only to find that the idea has no relevance to Chinese audiences.”andybrown

Debra Richards – CEO of Ausfilm, hosted the second panel Pathways to Post & VFX Excellence on Australian-Chinese co-productions, with a stellar line-up of speakers from the Australian post and VFX industry, including Alaric McAusland from DDP Studios/Iloura/StageOne Sound, Andy Brown and Luke Hetherington from Animal Logic, and Dane Maddams and Mick Hammell from Plastic Wax.

The panelists were keen to promote the three Australian government financial initiatives, made up of a 16.5% Location Offset, a 30% Post, Digital and Visual Effects Offset (PDV) and a 40% Producer Offset, 40% for films and 20% for television (including official co-production treaties).

Australia’s superior quality VFX, post, music and sound production capabilities were on display in a series of detailed case studies for the visiting filmmakers and the panel ran through visually dynamic movie trailers demonstrating their work on a range of tent-pole feature films – encouraging cheers and applause from the producers in the Chinese delegation.

The Australia China Co-production Forum was supported by Ausfilm and its member companies: Fox Studios Australia, Screen Australia (SA), Screen NSW, Animal Logic, Spectrum Films, Plastic Wax and Deluxe, with additional support from Australian Directors Guild (ADG) and Screen Producers Australia (SPA).