Sci-fi insiders advocate adapting Wang Jinkang's works to screen

By Zhang Rui
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, June 5, 2023
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A forum convened in Beijing last Wednesday centered on strategies to transform the works of science fiction titan Wang Jinkang into mainstream feature films and other formats.

Wang Jinkang, Chinese sci-fi luminary and honorary president of the newly launched Beijing Yuanyu Science Fiction and Future Technology Research Institute, speaks at a forum during the China Science Fiction Convention (CSFC), held in Beijing, May 31, 2023. [Photo courtesy of the CSFC Organizing Committee]

In his address, Wang expressed his hope that anyone who adapts sci-fi works into films and TV series should prioritize retaining the vision and concepts most valued by the original author before accommodating the general public's preferences.

The forum assembled industry professionals, experts and scholars from the sci-fi sector, as well as representatives from film, TV and online video platforms. The objective was to foster future collaborations and inspire actions concerning Wang's works, a renowned sci-fi authority in China. The forum delved into the commercialization, academic development, and transformation processes of Wang's works, aiming to establish a reference model for the entire operation chain of the sci-fi industry and offer insights into its development.

In recent years, sci-fi luminaries such as Liu Cixin have witnessed their works adapted with immense success, such as the "The Wandering Earth" installments and a TV adaptation of "Three-Body." However, there have been few other sci-fi successes of similar magnitude. Consequently, China's sci-fi industry is looking to unearth more gems and encourage more successful visual adaptations.

Liu, Wang's peer and friend, took to the stage and lauded Wang as an "irreplaceable figure" in the Chinese sci-fi industry. He commended Wang's works for embodying the inevitable trend of technological advancement and their potential for adaptation into films and TV series.

The forum highlighted Wang's "Einstein's Secret Letters" as a potential candidate for feature film adaptation. Additionally, eight of Wang's short stories have been transformed into short films by young filmmakers, including "Eternal Sunday," "The Man Like Leopard," and "The Reincarnated Giant." At the 2021 Shanghai International Film Festival, "Double Helix," a film adapted from Wang's work by Qiu Sheng, clinched the best live-action short film award.

"Wang Jinkang's works carry a heavy Chinese cultural background and reflect the trend of integration between Chinese culture and the future. I hope that Wang Jinkang's works will not only be presented in the form of short films, but also be adapted into major theatrical productions," Liu said.

Sci-fi professionals, experts and film industry insiders participate in two roundtable discussions at a forum during the China Science Fiction Convention (CSFC), held in Beijing, May 31, 2023. [Photo courtesy of the CSFC Organizing Committee]

Vasco Xu, co-founder and chief creative officer of Conqueror Films and a producer of "Dune" (2021), concurred, noting that Chinese sci-fi works exhibit a different temperament from American sci-fi works due to inherent disparities in Eastern and Western cultural aesthetics. He added that Wang's works encapsulate many Eastern humanistic values related to family and "inspire us to do our utmost to showcase Wang's works to the world."

Chen Weicheng, vice president of the Beijing Association for Science and Technology, acknowledged the important value of Wang's sci-fi works. He stressed that sci-fi development should not be confined to traditional methods within established industries and sciences, but rather adopt insights from the sci-fi industry itself. Chen advocated using advanced technology to promote digital transformation, diversify forms, and encourage conversion between academia and business. He also called for a collective effort to brainstorm ideas for adapting sci-fi literature into films and TV series and encouraged the exploration of new directions and opportunities for the development of China's sci-fi industry.

After the main discussions, the forum featured two roundtable sessions with sci-fi heavyweights such as Yao Haijun, Liu Cixin, Xiao Xinghan, film director Zhou Ziyang, and producer Bian Jiang. Organized by the Beijing Association for Science and Technology, the forum was co-hosted by the Beijing Science Center, China Science and Technology Press, and the Beijing Yuanyu Science Fiction and Future Technology Research Institute as an important event during the China Science Fiction Convention 2023.

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