The "14th Five-Year Plan" for China's film development clearly puts forward the goal of building a film power by 2035, and the connotation of a film power, in addition to the continuous prosperity of domestic films and markets, the enhancement of international influence is also one of the important dimensions.
The "Plan" clearly mentions that in order to enhance international influence, it is necessary to start from three aspects: "telling Chinese stories well with films", "expanding international distribution networks" and "deepening international exchanges and cooperation". These three points are also the main topics of this year's Beijing International Film Festival Powerful Country Industry Forum, where senior practitioners from China and abroad gathered together to analyze the current situation of Chinese films "going out" and provide suggestions for the future development path.
One case and three-step mechanism
Now when it comes to Chinese films "going out", "The Wandering Earth 2" is bound to be an important case that cannot be avoided. According to Maoyan Professional Edition, "The Wandering Earth 2" has exceeded $5 million at the North American box office, and the total global box office excluding the mainland market has reached $14 million.
Source: Maoyan Pro
The way of global simultaneous release is common when many foreign films land in the domestic market, but for domestic films in overseas markets, it is still a relatively rare publicity strategy, talking about the reason, Fu Ruoqing, secretary of the party committee and chairman of China Film Group Corporation, chairman and general manager of China Film Co., Ltd., said, "Like kung fu films, science fiction films are the core of the story of the future reverie, so the prerequisites for it to resonate overseas will be stronger than ordinary films." It's not like a comedy, it's not too closely related to local culture. ”
It sounds relaxed, but when the international flights have not yet been opened at the time of release, it takes 20 days to complete the transmission of copies, the input of publicity personnel, etc., and the pressure is greater than the previous global simultaneous release. Fortunately, the investment has paid off as it should, Fu Ruoqing mentioned that the film won more than expected performance in the first week of the film in mature markets such as North America, Australia and New Zealand, and the United Kingdom, which are relatively exclusive to Chinese-language films.
The reason, Fu Ruoqing, believes that the professionalism of the overseas distribution team is the key, "This issuance did not invite some overseas Chinese, compatriots, or their publicity companies as in the past, we are all overseas professional distribution companies selected this time." Professional distribution companies are relatively relaxed in terms of promotion, arrangement, and layout, so there will be corresponding performances to see "The Wandering Earth 2" a month later. ”
The success of "The Wandering Earth 2" is certainly gratifying, but the success of a single film is difficult to talk about the overall export of Chinese films, not to mention that "The Wandering Earth 2" itself is a head project that is difficult to benchmark in all aspects. In order to allow more Chinese films to enter the international market, it is necessary to establish a comprehensive and effective market mechanism.
Yu Dong, chairman and founder and general manager of Bona Film Group Co., Ltd., put forward a "three-step" proposal.
The first step is to cultivate international buyers, allowing global film buyers to come to Chinese film festivals and exhibitions to select domestic films. Yu Dong gave an example, "Referring to the rise of Korean films, South Korea once invited global buyers at the Busan Film Festival, and even took away ten films as cheap as 10,000 US dollars. When the buyer returns to make money, it becomes an interesting business, he comes again, and then gradually increases the price. "The second step is to promote international co-production, and bundle interests by jointly funding and jointly showing their own market distribution capabilities. The third step is to create a mature international schedule, which is the most important part of truly integrating into the world market. Yu Dong believes that the current Spring Festival file has the ability to synchronize globally, just like the Christmas file and summer file created by Hollywood, there are movies with global competition at this time of year, "because February is actually a relatively weak schedule in the world, but for 70 million overseas Chinese, it is an opportunity for the world to see Chinese blockbusters simultaneously." ”
The "three-step" plan is actually a learning experience for mature film markets such as Hollywood. Director Lu Chuan has collaborated with Disney on an animal-themed documentary "We Were Born in China", which tells several anthropomorphic stories from the perspective of domestic wildlife. Lu Chuan mentioned that in the process of cooperation, he deeply felt the difference between the industrial process of Hollywood film production and China, "Before signing the contract, they had already set the release date. The contract will specify the requirements, such as 6 months for the first picking, 18 months for shooting, and 10 months for the post. I thought it was horrible that when you sign a contract like this, it's gone for three and a half years. ”
In the end, "We Were Born in China" was released as scheduled at the time agreed in the contract, and Disney's offline stores and screens were scrolling, and in the Mexican and Hispanic communities of Houston, Lu Chuan saw the school bus taking the children into the cinema one by one, and parents also watched it together.
This is the advantage brought by the complete industrial production system and distribution system, so that all processes such as production cycle, distribution schedule, copyright income and so on have unified planning. According to Lu Chuan, the film eventually reached $33 million at the box office in the global market. Although Chinese films are still far from a mature industrial system, they can at least gradually move closer in a step-by-step manner by learning from the past development paths of overseas markets.
Intrinsic value is the spirit of cinema
"We Were Born in China" tells stories with wild animals as the protagonists, which naturally reduces the acceptance threshold brought by cultural barriers, and in the field of feature films belonging to human images, the exchange of Chinese and foreign films has actually undergone a long change.
"We Were Born in China"
For example, Li Bingbing, who has repeatedly starred in Hollywood blockbusters, mentioned a problem - many Western films have had a vague and unclear image of Asians in the past, "Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, they think they are all the same." ”
Not only at the level of characters, but also at the level of cultural commonality also makes it difficult for Western audiences to distinguish, Tokyo International Film Festival chairman and former senior diplomat Yuyasu Ando pointed out that although the cultures of China, Japan and South Korea are different, East Asian culture as a whole is actually influenced by the very deep cultural inheritance of Confucianism and Buddhism. This influence has endowed East Asia with a unique cultural and aesthetic awareness, which is completely different from European, American or Islamic societies, and thus created a unique sense of value for East Asian films.
Fortunately, with the emergence of Chinese film masterpieces, the differences between East Asian countries have become clearer. German director and screenwriter Florian Henkel von Donasmarck said, "From my experience of selecting many foreign language film awards, I think that Chinese films are now at a commanding height in terms of international reputation. In fact, China has been able to insist on building its own film structure and letting people follow its own quality standards. ”
Florian Heinkel von Donnasmark
To some extent, Donas Mark even expressed envy for the creative state of Chinese directors. Lu Chuan half-jokingly mentioned that he hopes to have the opportunity to shoot "Pirates of the Caribbean", but in Donas Mark's view, if one day Lu Chuan really shoots "Pirates of the Caribbean", "maybe your enjoyment will be lower than what you do now." "The reason is that companies like China Film Group, which have a large amount of government investment to support films, are quite rare in the world, and the budget for domestic film production is also very high.
In Yu Dong's view, this is precisely the part that needs to be changed in Chinese films at present, "In fact, more of our pictures and shots cannot be smashed out with money, we should pay more attention to humanistic expression, which is the premise of writing Chinese stories, telling Chinese stories well, artistic techniques, technical means should be assisted in character shaping and storytelling." ”
This is also the core proposition of Jiang Zhiqiang, president of Anle Film Co., Ltd., who has brought "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" to the audience of the world film market in the past, he believes that the most important thing is to write the script well, "I have always believed in the script when making movies, and when we get the script right, I think half of the good movie has come out." The good thing about this era is that now all movie scripts can be found online, and everyone can be a good producer. ”
The investment in the story itself is naturally the unswerving direction of film creation, but in the context of cross-cultural communication, there are still many details worthy of the creator's personal action.
For example, as an actor, mastery of another language is largely a necessity for shaping a character. "When the film wants you to speak any language, you have to be able to cooperate in speaking that language. For example, in "The Wind" filmed in 2009, the role played by Mr. Huang Xiaoming in it had to speak Japanese, and he also attached great importance to it, and memorized it for a long, long time, because this actor only allowed him to speak Japanese. Li Bingbing mentioned.
In Lu Chuan's view, if the translation work is not done carefully, basically more than 50% of the actor's performance and plot expression will be lost, "I think this piece really needs to establish standards." When I was doing "Nanjing Nanjing", I originally thought that English was okay, but I hired a pure British producer, and the first version of the translation was a mess that he refuted, and then spent two and a half months doing English subtitle translation and learned a lot. ”
But translation and performance are ultimately the level of "art", Lu Chuan believes that the level of "Tao" may be more worthy of attention, "In fact, there is something more important in film communication, which is its spirit." This spirit has actually been encouraging filmmakers in various countries to make films and films become independent cultures. I think when we want to tell Chinese stories, in fact, we may also have to maintain such a film spirit in our own films. ”
It is this kind of film spirit that provides real recognition for Chinese films to stand tall among the nations of the world, and it is also the real reliance to impress all potential overseas audiences. On the road of "going out", it is necessary to establish a perfect mechanism, but also to return to the essence of creation, so that the common values and emotions of all mankind can be displayed.