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Market report: Jinzhen Short Film Forum

Last month  our Festival Director was invited to Jinzhen Short Film Forum as a guest of the Jinzhen Short Film Foundation in China. Here is Gina’s report on how it went.

It was my first time visiting this country, so I was fairly excited. There were some personal highlights in the exploring department, such as the Great Wall of China and a hosted trip to the Terracotta Warriors. The main purpose of the trip though, was to learn more about the current market for short films in China and build some relationships.

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What a show!

I’m pleased to report that Mr Guan Er, who is the Chairman and CEO of the Jinzhen Short Film Foundation, is passionate about short films and enthusiastic about their future in China. My favourite quote from him is: “A feature film is like a tree from the roots to the leaves. A short film is just one fruit from the tree.”

Mr Guan has some very ambitious plans for turning the small city of Hancheng into a major national and international short film hub. The projects include:

  • A short film festival
  • A film school – with residencies and professional development programmes for Chinese and international filmmakers
  • A short film museum
  • A ‘Film Cafe’ – with 1000 small cinemas to be built inside shipping crates
  • Filmmaking competitions (like 48Hours)

During the week myself and 26 other film festival organisers from around the world were shown plans for some of the new facilities, taken on tours of potential venues, and given the opportunity to ask questions. Mr Guan and his team sought our feedback on the ventures, and has requested we remain in touch as part of an informal advisory network to provide further advice as the projects develop.

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Flying the NZ flag, along with the flags of all the other guests.

My main impressions from the week are of how big everything is – the cities, the population, and the ideas! If this were anywhere else in the world, the organisers would start with a small pilot for just one of the proposed parts of Mr Guan’s hub. But in China it appears that thinking big is how things are done. Luckily as an ex-property developer, Mr Guan seems to have access to a significant amount of capital and a strong network of business and political supporters from the city and elsewhere. The projects above are estimated to cost approximately $300-million yuan (NZ$60-million).

I will definitely be following the development with interest, and hope to be invited back again along with Kiwi filmmakers to shoot work there as part of the professional development initiative when it launches.

Later this year I am invited to attend the market associated with the China International New Media Short Film Festival in Shenzhen, China. I hope to deepen my understanding of the Chinese market place for short films, and build further relationships with a view to monetising New Zealand short films for screening.

My fake wedding with Mr Guan - symbolising the coming together of the Chinese and international short film communities

My fake wedding with Mr Guan – symbolising the coming together of the Chinese and international short film communities

 You can see more photos from this trip in our Facebook album here.