International co-productions make up about 10 percent of all films in China, and account for a considerable part of China’s annual box-office takings. The number of co-produced films has been on a steady rise in recent years.
Generally speaking, co-produced films have played an important role in attracting foreign investment in the Chinese film industry, boosting the prosperity of China’s film market, promoting cross-border cultural exchanges, and accelerating the internationalization of Chinese films.
Co-productions between countries is now facing new problems and challenges in the increasingly open and competitive Chinese film market. Many co-produced films screened home catered to Chinese people and culture. Domestic filmmakers should draw on the experience of their foreign counterparts to improve the artistic and production level of domestic films. At the same time, they should also beware of foreign studios using co-production as a special channel to share the cake since Chinese domestic films has already been in hard times in a fiercely competitive market.
Co-produced films should integrate the strong points of all parties involved. With decades of development, foreign films have formed their own unique artistic style. International co-productions can integrate the strong points of all countries involved, and demonstrate the cultures of these countries.
Chinese filmmakers are recommended to establish long-term cooperative relations with overseas studios and international distributors so as to screen more Chinese films abroad. The Karate Kid, a China-U.S. co-produced film that tells the story of an American boy learning kung fu in China, has received very positive feedback in the United States. It is thus clear that good use of Chinese elements helps domestic films “go global.”
Furthermore, co-productions should help train more talented people for the Chinese film industry, and improve China’s film production technologies. We are eager to see a Chinese team with excellent artistic and technological innovation capabilities fully participate in the screenwriting and production of a co-produced film, and provide a truly Chinese-led co-produced film to international audiences.
Nowadays, the soft power of a country becomes increasingly important for comprehensive national strength. Chinese film industry has potential to be next great leap outward for country’s soft power.
Read the Chinese version: 让合拍片助力中国电影“走出去”
Source:People's Daily, author: Zhang Xun