China to make sci-fi films for the new era

By Zhang Rui
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, September 29, 2020
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One of the highlights of the China Golden Rooster and Hundred Flowers Film Festival 2020 was the science fiction forum on Sept. 26. The participants agreed that China needs to create sci-fi works for the new era.

A sci-fi summit is held during the China Golden Rooster and Hundred Flowers Film Festival 2020, Sept. 26, 2020. [Photo courtesy of the organizing committee of China Golden Rooster and Hundred Flowers Film Festival]

"Science fiction films play an important role in enlightening the mind and giving full play to the imagination. For decades, Chinese filmmakers have worked diligently in creating science fiction films," said La Peikang, vice chairman of the Chinese Film Association.

La praised the 2019 sci-fi epic "The Wandering Earth," which earned 4.7 billion yuan at the box office and received multiple awards, as having demonstrated the success of Chinese filmmakers and the Chinese film system. Frant Gwo won the best director award for "The Wandering Earth" at the Hundred Flowers Awards on Saturday.

"At present, China is in a critical phase. It is entering a new era marked by technological revolutions and industrial transformation. Moreover, the internet and 5G technology have had significant impacts on the latest generation of filmmakers. Chinese sci-fi filmmakers need to seize the opportunities presented to them and actively create new works that will advance Chinese science fiction."

The summit forum with the theme "Making sci-fi films for the new era" was attended by Gong Ge'er, the producer of "The Wandering Earth," and several predominant Chinese sci-fi writers and experts. 

"Actually, 'The Wandering Earth' was a sort of experiment," Gong said, "It went through a long process of refinement, lasting many years before it succeeded. It was based on Liu Cixin's masterpiece novel of the same name. I know Hollywood also took several decades to build up a sci-fi audience. Chinese science fiction movies have a good start and they can expect a prosperous future."

"Imagination is an important element of the power of a big country." Han Song, a famous sci-fi writer and chairman of the Science Fiction Committee of the China Science Writers Association, believes that science fiction movies are not only good for the film industry but that they are also an important platform for China to spread cultural soft power and open up a splendid and vast space for scientific imagination for future societies and human civilizations.

Another sci-fi writer Bao Shu added: "Science fiction movies allow us to transcend our daily mundane lives by showing us the broader world and space."

A still from the 2019 sci-fi epic "The Wandering Earth" [Photo courtesy of China Film Co.]

Curiosity is the criterion to define a good sci-fi film, said Chen Qiufan, the president of the World Chinese Science Fiction Association. He said that an excellent science fiction movie can make the public curious about nature and the universe, leading to deep and long-term changes in how we see things. Movies can be a driving force for innovation, leading the nation to new heights.

He believes that Chinese sci-fi films can be explored through literary and artistic works, such as interpreting ancient Chinese myths through science fiction, and incorporating Chinese symbols into the aesthetic elements of science fiction films.

Science fiction movies are creations centered on people and creativity. To develop at a rapid pace, they must also have in-depth cooperation with the industry. "Investors must have sci-fi sentiments and patient investment logic," Chen added. 

Award-winning sci-fi writer Jiang Bo believes that whether it is from the perspective of writing or the perspective of filmmaking, remaining true to your original aspiration is an important factor in whether a good work can be made. "Before you start to create something, you must think about why you are creating and what emotions you are trying to express. You shouldn't consider only the market perspective."

"Currently, China's science fiction movies always make the audience feel alienated. The main reason is that Chinese people are not confident in their own science and technology. But with the rapid development of the country's science and technology, this lack of confidence will gradually disappear. China will produce more high-quality science fiction movies covering space, the deep oceans and nature," Jiang added.

Guidelines on promoting the development of sci-fi films was jointly issued by the China Film Administration and the China Association for Science and Technology on Aug. 7. The guidelines list 10 policies and measures on the production, screening, special effects, and other issues concerning sci-fi films. It also highlights sci-fi films as a significant growth area and a new driving force for the high-quality development of China's film industry.

The forum participants pointed out that this is a major benefit for the creation and production of sci-fi movies and the development of the film industry. They look forward to the further implementation of relevant supporting policies and rules.

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