More overseas promotion needed for Chinese films

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail CRI, March 22, 2013
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A poster of "Back to 1942." [Photo: Douban]

Chinese films have been struggling to be box office hits outside China in the global market place.

How to solve this problem has been a hot topic at the ongoing Hong Kong International Film and Television Market. Insiders and experts at the event say different filming styles and cultural barriers contribute to the lack of international attention.

But they say more overseas promotion is needed for Chinese language movies if they are to be successful outside China.

American director Michael Tolkin says he loves many of the Chinese films he watched. But he says there are some features of these films which may prevent them from being accepted by the North American market.

"Sometimes I look at Chinese movies. And I think they are little bit too sentimental. They are little too long. I think they need be a little shorter and tighter. Structurally, I think Chinese films need to be a little more dynamic. Sometimes the music gets a little bit too flowery."

But some insiders point out that about a decade ago when the domestic market was smaller, Chinese film makers were producing movies especially for the overseas market.

These films, including Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Hero and House of Flying Daggers, all enjoyed enormous international success.

In recent years film makers have shifted their focus back to the exploding mainland market as more and more Chinese people are going to the cinema.

As a result many home box-office hits, such as the recent Lost in Thailand, had dismal box office results in Europe and North America.

Also, many insiders think lack of promotion is another key reason for the poor performance of Chinese movies overseas.

Renowned Indian novelist Chetan Bhagat, who's at the film and television market in Hong Kong, says he knows some Hong Kong movies but very few mainland productions.

"But mainland movies, I haven't seen that much. I haven't known about it. No one tells me, right? I don't see the advertisement, I don't see the Trailer. How would I know? I mean, every movie needs marketing."

He says the government should promote Chinese movies strategically as it promotes tourism of China.

Some blame cultural differences for making Chinese films hard to understand among European and American audience.

But others insist that people are, in fact, willing to learn from different cultures and that more needs to be done to increase this understanding.

Marysia Juszczakiewics, Founder of Peony Literary Agency, says getting Chinese literature translated and released internationally could aid this cause.

And that it could also be beneficial to China's film industry.

"Getting the stories out and into as many languages as possible that also helps, could you then crossing different cultural barriers and territories and getting them read. That's the beginning. Getting the stories out there and then the films come, which is what's happening with film. Films come to me about stories that were written a long time ago."

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