Spotlight: Hollywood hopes for more cooperation with Chinese filmmakers at annual film festival

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, November 10, 2019
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by Julia Pierrepont III

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 9 (Xinhua) -- Hollywood played host to another star-studded film and TV event this week as the 15th Chinese American Film Festival (CAFF) and the Chinese American Television Festival (CATF) kicked off Tuesday in California.

Over the course of a month, hundreds of films and television works from both countries will be unveiled at the festival and around 100 of them will be screened in mainstream theaters in Los Angeles, San Francisco and other cities in the United States.

Founded in 2005 by EDI Media Inc., the festival is a cultural event to promote film and television industry exchanges and cooperation between China and the United States.

U.S. Congresswoman Judy Chu told the crowd at the opening ceremony on Tuesday that the festival is what it is today because of the timeless efforts of the organizer "to grow this festival bigger and bigger every year."

"In recognition of your high standards of excellent and outstanding achievements, your work in promoting cultural exchange between the United States and China is truly commendable and greatly appreciated," wrote Chu in a congratulation letter to the event.

James Su, chairman of CAFF and CATF and president of EDI Media Inc., thanked the participants of the event for supporting the festival over the years.

"Thank you for your love of film," he said at the opening ceremony.

Those sentiments were echoed by Hollywood luminaries who took part in the event.

Hollywood producer Arthur Sarkissian, of "Rush Hour" franchise fame, told Xinhua, "It's been a pleasure to witness first hand just how much this festival has grown every year."

He added, "I look forward to watching it grow for years to come and its continued impact on world cinema."

Many other American studio executives, producers and a glittering array of actors, writers, composers and other cinematic talent attended various activities during the festival, including co-production summit, film and television market, and a film and TV showcase.

Film financier and producer Omar Kaczmarczyk told Xinhua that the festival created the tool kit that was needed to build a bridge between U.S. and Chinese film communities.

The festival also began as a way to celebrate the achievements of talented Chinese filmmakers, writers, and performing artists who were too often passed over for recognition by mainstream Hollywood.

"It's such a pleasure to recognize so many talented people of all nationalities and to promote cross-cultural cooperation as we build a future of jointly-produced cinema," Hollywood attorney and dealmaker Randy Mendelsohn told Xinhua. "It warms my heart."

"The festival and panels are a lot of fun, but also very important, because they bring together people from China and the United States who share the common goals of making and sharing the sort of films and which at their best can entertain all people and even help enlighten us about our shared human experiences," said Bob Underwood, Foreign Task Force member of the Writers Guild of America.

"Speaking for 10,000 members of the Writers Guild, I'd like to say we are pleased and proud to be part of this event," he noted in his speech during the event.

Both sides of the Pacific are looking for ways to get active projects back into the co-pro pipeline and make film more relevant to today's younger generation who are defecting in droves to short-form videos and games.

"China-U.S. co-production has made great progress over the past several years," said Gillian Zhao, president of the Warner Bros. China, noting that 2018's science fiction action film "The Meg" is a successful example for China-U.S. co-production.

"It's important to find a right partner and attract a global audience with internationalized plot line," she added.

Stu Levy, founder of the pioneering media company Tokyopop, said, "If I was a young filmmaker coming up today, I'd look at TikTok. Where the young people are going is what's leading the industry."

A high percentage of film producers and directors who were honored by CAFF/CATF at its Golden Angel Awards were women, unlike in Hollywood, where women are notoriously undervalued.

"It's great to see so many exceptional women filmmakers finally being acknowledged for their talent," hitmaker producer Jeff Most told Xinhua. Enditem

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