How to Find Opportunities in China’s Film Industry, From a European Perspective

How to Find Opportunities in China’s Film Industry, From a European Perspective

In the past few years, as Chinese box office has exploded, the West has started to pay much more attention to the Chinese film market. While China’s role in, and influence on, Hollywood is undoubtedly the center of attention, European film executives and producers have also been actively engaging with China. In this effort, Bridging The Dragon, an organization that seeks to bring Europe’s film industry closer to China, is a crucial player. Recently, Cristiano Bortone, Managing Director of Bridging The Dragon, spoke to CFI on the founding of the organization, co-production trends, the group’s newly launched initiative, and its upcoming event at the Cannes Film Festival.

CFI: Whose idea was it to found Bridging The Dragon, who started it and why?

We started the platform four years ago as a group of producers interested in further encouraging collaborations between Europe and China. At first, the upcoming new generation of Chinese investors were looking mostly at Hollywood as a successful model. But we felt that Europe, with its amazing film history and filmmaking expertise, has a lot to offer.  And now that the Chinese market is evolving and Chinese film executives are diversifying their focuses, this has been proved to be right.

CFI: What kinds of opportunities are out there in China for European companies and filmmakers? Is there anything unique that Hollywood can’t offer?

I think what is great about China is that it is a blank blackboard. Nothing is for granted and, right now, there is more space for surprises than anywhere else. Of course, Hollywood’s blockbusters have a privileged space in the hearts and minds of Chinese moviegoers. But in the search for novelty, films from other parts of the world can create buzz and curiosity. The (unexpected) success of Indian movies might be just one example of that. Europe, with its amazing array of cultures, professional talents as well as funding support, can be a very promising partner.

CFI: What made you, personally, become interested in China? Have you lived in China? Do you speak Chinese?

I started studying Chinese as a high school student in the 80s when people used to make fun of me and ask me “Why are you learning Chinese? Who speaks Chinese in the world?” Then one of my films, Red Like the Sky, was imported into China and became one of the most appreciated films by Chinese film lovers (it has a rating of 8.9/10 on Chinese film review site Douban!). This was the beginning of my adventure.  I was one of the founding members of BTD and later became the Managing Director.

to read the entire interview go to China Film Inside clicking here

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