China is open to international co-productions

Panelists at Cannes' Bridging The Dragon discussed international co-productions

By Gabriella Geisinger 26 May 2023

China is open to international co-productions
L-R: Moderator Cristiano Bortone, Liu Hui

Though China's cinemas and borders are open, producers and investors are cautious about the types of movies they're making, said panelists at Bridging The Dragon’s annual Cannes Marche panel.

Chinese director-producer Lu Chuan said: "We have lots of talented and brave young filmmakers who want to make films – the problem is how do we encourage them to make more different types of films, and not only focus on comedies and family dramas."

Jeffrey Chan, CEO of Just Creative Studios said he was 'generally positive' about the future of Chinese filmmaking despite some roadblocks creatives face.

Some of the roadblocks and difficulties filmmakers who want to co-produce face is the the ability to move money internationally. Additionally, censorship is also a hurdle for filmmakers.

"We don’t know when we’re trying something new today if the audience will like it. That has made investors and filmmakers much more conservative, but we need to start looking at what other things the audience might like," Chan added.

Liu Hui, co-founder of independent production house Bad Rabbit Pictures said he hoped Chinese directors and producers would begin to approach to international markets with travel being reinstated. 

“It would be great to see more young Chinese filmmakers showing up in these international financing sessions and labs,” said Liu. “We also hope that more international filmmakers will come to China so we can make movies together.”

Likewise, he would like to see the return of the type of enthusiastic exploration of co-productions by US and European counterparts. He did note that any given country's relationship with China would have an impact on the likelihood of a co-production being viable.

"Any co-production that is trying to work in both territories, and multiple territories, is becoming harder creatively,” said Chan.

Lu added: "The market is changing, so there will be new realities, but we have a huge population that wants to watch different kinds of films, so there will always be opportunities in my opinion."

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