The Chinese film market – Chronicles from the SIFF
During the Shanghai International Film Festival, several meetings were dedicated to the film scene in China. We participated in a panel with six very influential personalities from the current film industry who, by themselves, represent about half of the market in China.
What emerged from the discussion is a strong positivity towards the current era, described as a golden era by market experts. China is about to become the biggest market in the world for the film industry (just to add another record to the list). In the first quarter, the box office exceeded the North American one, and according to recent analysis this growth is mainly due to the increased cinematographic success of domestic movies. However, besides growing, the market now needs to focus on quality, which must be prioritized over quantity.
Yu Dong, founder and president of the Bona Film Group, stated that it is important not to follow trends, because making movies is a solitary activity. In the next ten years the Chinese film industry will have many interesting development opportunities, but it must keep dealing with the competition from the global market, therefore it is important that it demonstrates its strength and influence.
James Wang, co-founder and CEO of Huayi Brothers declared that Chinese movies are unique in the film scene because, besides meeting box offices’ necessities, they must demonstrate fundamental values. This means that the public must be able to get an idea of Chinese society’s power through its excellent movies.
Fan Luyuan, CEO of Alibaba Pictures and Damai, believes that it is important to nurture young talent, both directors and writers, who will be the real future of this market.
Ren Zhonglun, president of Shanghai Film Group and Shanghai Film Studios, argues that China is entering an era in which large production companies will dominate the market. If we consider the USA, six companies alone control 85% of the US-market and 26% of the global market. Mr. Zhonglun also stated that in the last ten years they concentrated their efforts in creating a chain, because it is difficult to survive by only doing production. For this reason, the Shanghai Film Group will invest in the future by prioritizing distribution.
Jiang Ping, general manager of China Co Ltd, commented that Chinese companies still have a lot to learn and must never stop learning. He underlined the importance of not only making movies that are aesthetically pleasing, but also convey positive values.
All the speakers agreed on the fact that the real strength of the Chinese film industry will be its focus on higher quality content rather than on the quantity of films produced. This is one of the goals on which everybody will work for the next ten years.
Translated by: Martina Zanfi