MIL-OSI China: Film executive: Talent nurturing key to boosting Chinese films’ success

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Source: China State Council Information Office 3

A top executive of WarnerMedia in China recently spoke to China.org.cn in an exclusive interview about the importance of nurturing for young Chinese filmmakers and her hopes of helping Chinese films reach bigger audiences overseas.
Gillian Zhao, the president of Warner Bros. China, was one of the jurors for the Project Pitches, an incubator designed for young filmmakers and outstanding film projects held during the Beijing Film Market section of the ongoing Beijing International Film Festival. She and two other jurors, filmmakers Cao Baoping and Yu Baimei, selected the winners from 17 finalists.
The final results were released on Sept. 24. Among them, Zhao Siying’s “Get Better Day by Day” was awarded the special prize, Yao Qingtao’s “King of the Old City” won the award for project with greatest commercial potential, Lu Helai’s animated film project “A Raging Rhino Ran Down Gulou Street That Night” was chosen as best creative project and Huang Shi’s “She Will Fight to the End” was named best original script. The Motion Picture Association (MPA) also handed out prizes for “King of the Old City” and “Get Better Day by Day.”
“When I listened to the young filmmakers introducing their film projects, I was struck by the amount of talent and the diverse subjects, therefore I feel that the future of the Chinese film industry is very promising,” Zhao said. 
The veteran film executive listed three values she looks for when considering if a project is good. “One is social value, the second is artistic value, and then the commercial value,” Zhao explained. “The best project will be the one that balances these three values.” She added that many young filmmakers this time had demonstrated both their creativity and what originally inspired their dreams of becoming filmmakers, which she felt was very touching.
Zhao said WarnerMedia in China has always been a strong believer in the importance of training and that they put a lot of effort into talent exchanges, including inviting filmmakers to their headquarters in the United States and holding training camps in China.
In her opinion, the Chinese film market has recovered very quickly thanks to the excellent pandemic control measures. “The market needs more outstanding films and I feel that domestic productions should also work to catch up in terms of development. We hope various talent exchange programs can help narrow the gap in the level of production between the Chinese film industry and Hollywood.”
Zhao also noted that although several Chinese blockbusters have achieved phenomenal box office numbers domestically, the main source of income is still China, rather than the world at large. “More than 90% of box office revenue comes just from China. If these films can also be successful internationally, we can up the budgets for these blockbusters, so that their quality will be much higher.”
Currently, however, most interest in Chinese-language films around the world is limited to overseas Chinese and a small group of foreigners interested in China. The executive admitted that making progress is a complicated matter and the status quo needs to be changed phase by phase. 
“We’ve learned a lot from distributing Chinese films in America, for example ‘Detective Chinatown 2,’ such as lessons about the American film rating system.”
WarnerMedia in China will continue to invest more in Chinese-American co-productions which can focus on the Chinese market while also pleasing audiences in other territories, she revealed. Several tentpole Warner films will be released globally, such as “The Matrix Resurrections” later this year, and several DC superhero films the following year. “We look forward to bringing them for Chinese fans to enjoy,” she said.

MIL OSI China News