MiBAC and MiSE’s Project China has been operating for three years.
It is strongly characterized by the method: an ongoing debate with Chinese counterparts both on an institutional level (Film Bureau and the China Film Co-production Corporation, the Central Cinema Archive) as well as with regard to entrepreneurs (producers and distributors), with monthly meetings.
The fluidity of the relationship which is useful for establishing a climate of trust (essential with Chinese interlocutors), has made and continues to make it possible to realize Italian cinema initiatives – focuses, retro- spectives and conferences – at all the most important festival events and to participate as equal partners in all the opportunities for encounter that the Chinese cinema industry organizes on an international level (Cannes, Berlin, Los Angeles).
Moreover Italian cinema enjoys a treatment “of respect” when it is called upon to interact with “filter and control” bodies for our actions in loco because, while it is true that in China there are precise and preset quotas and slots for the entry of foreign audiovisual works, it is also true that, very often, the various bodies have reserved “sub quotas” that they manage directly.
This was revealed to us by Roberto Stabile, head of Project China, who adds:
“We facilitate the acquisition of Italian products by Chinese distributors at various festivals and markets and we have extended the international distributor support Fund to China, favoring and heavily boosting the commercial aspect as well. We also have a framework agreement with Xinhuanet, the Chinese Press Agency, an essential support for communicating our activities, and with Movieview, which is the main local sector magazine”.
In this regard the case of the film “Perfect Strangers”, chosen to open Focus Italia at the last Beijing Film Festival, is very interesting.
The film had already been exploited on parallel platforms and it was thought that it no longer had an audience in China.
Instead the success obtained by the film during a series of promotional initiatives encouraged a local distributor to try his luck in the movie theater where the film took one million dollars on the first day of its release, reaching (and maintaining for 2 weeks) the prestigious 5th place at the Chinese Box Office.
In the spirit of reciprocity Italy is organizing a Focus China at the Venice Film Festival and an exhibition of Chinese movies in Italy with Film Bureau. In China the DG cinema and ICE – Italian Trade Agency are equal partners in every action and an Audiovisual Desk has been set up at the Shanghai Office which works with the support and involvement of the Embassy, the Italian Cultural Institutes and the Consulates.