In the restart stage, Chinese films need high-quality development
Emerging from the impact of the epidemic, Chinese films are experiencing a critical moment of regrouping, and it is urgent to find audiences with rich and diversified supply of high-quality film content, continue to explore opportunities in the Chinese film market, and also need to explore more common issues based on cultural self-confidence, explore more forms of international cooperation, connect the world and China, and show the charm of light and shadow.
The ongoing 25th Shanghai International Film Festival has always been concerned about the development of the film industry, and in the opening forum with the theme of "Light and Shadow Connecting the World and China" held on June 10, the Shanghai Film Festival invited leading figures in the film industry at home and abroad to discuss the high-quality development of China's film industry and the new pattern of international cooperation in film.
The following is a collated forum content.
Mainstream Chinese stories are loved by audiences
Secretary of the Party Committee and Chairman of China Film Group Corporation, Chairman and General Manager of China Film Co., Ltd
From the rapid development of films in 2003, or the beginning of the marketization of the film industry, our mainstream audience has actually grown by 20 years. After the change of the mainstream audience and the entry of the new mainstream audience, it actually brings empathy and empathy for Chinese stories and the people and things around them, and the audience's demand in this regard is greater.
The Hollywood movies we relied on before, its serialization has been continuing the structure of the original story, the heroes of the story, and the collisions and feelings, including special effects, but its changes have not improved much. And China's own rational collision stories, films showing this kind of content continue to emerge, coupled with the technical ability, technical expression and director's creative ability and creative techniques of domestic films are also constantly improving, so simply put, we are more attractive to our mainstream audience from the perspective of our own cultural confidence and our own story.
Overseas films, especially Hollywood films, have reduced their novelty and novelty, so they have also brought about a significant improvement and improvement of domestic films.
Chairman of Light Media
The dominance of domestic cartoons has been achieved during the epidemic in the past few years, so its foundation is actually not solid, and what we should do is to cultivate the audience with better products. This product includes domestic films, as well as imported films, and it is necessary to jointly mobilize the enthusiasm of the audience.
There have been other changes in recent years, such as the change in the structure of film genres, and we just talked about cartoons, in fact, different types of films have changed in the market. For example, mainstream blockbusters, which have had a large share of improvement in recent years; In some years, cartoons can reach 20% of the total box office of domestic films, and even a film reaches 30%, so its structure is also changing.
Because of this change, Light has prompted some deep thinking about the future direction of the industry, including the emphasis on animation. We currently have more than 20 animations in progress, and we hope to make about 3 animated films released every year. For example, next year, "Nezha 2" and "Xiaoqian" will be released, and the Chinese mythological universe series - Chinese its own Marvel series, Marvel Universe series and series of films are also being planned, hoping to promote the change of genre structure to a certain extent, so that the proportion of cartoons in the box office of Chinese films in the future can stably reach about 15%-20%.
Secretary of the Party Committee and Chairman of Shanghai Film (Group) Co., Ltd., Chairman of Shanghai Film Co., Ltd
On the one hand, our major film companies are also very huddled, with some large investment and large productions, such as "Changjin Lake"; But on the other hand, it is also committed to paying attention to the cultural needs and cultural aesthetics of different groups, such as the Shanghainese movie "Love Myth", which exploded at the end of 2021 and the beginning of 2022. The film is deeply loved by white-collar female audiences in major cities, and some female audiences in Shanghai have five or six brushes.
Why is it so attractive? I think it may be because it is very exquisite, elegant, diverse, inclusive, very pyrotechnic, it shows the gender relationship and female identity identity in reality from the perspective of the female audience, it should be said to shape the avant-garde modern independent female image.
Another animation work "China Qitan", which was produced by Shanghai Film at the beginning of this year and broadcast exclusively on Station B, is also loved by young people, one of which is called "Summer of Little Monsters", with a Douban opening score of 9.9 points. Its protagonist Little Pig Demon character is set to be a worker, which is very substitutionary for many newcomers and young people in the workplace, as if they saw themselves when watching this film.
I think a very important reason why domestic films and domestic film and television works have become more and more loved by domestic audiences in recent years is that realistic works are close to life, care for the heart, and resonate with the audience.
Founder, Chairman and General Manager of Bona Film Group Co., Ltd
The progress of Chinese films in recent years is obvious to all, and has achieved development that has attracted the attention of the world. We are now in a critical period, and Chinese films are facing a critical moment to start again, because after the epidemic, the film industry has regrouped and taken the lead in recovery, which has given us filmmakers in the film industry great confidence - the audience is still there, as long as the film is good, the audience will return. This year's Spring Festival file was released and announced in such a short time, which gave us great confidence in the retaliatory growth of the market.
In the three years of the epidemic, many film companies have struggled, and it is very difficult to survive it, especially in movie theaters. As a terminal theater is very difficult, but in the end 80,000 screens are saved, and our new screens are still growing in the past three years, which is particularly valuable and the foundation and cornerstone of our films.
There is a very typical example of this year's Spring Festival stall, that is, the audience's midnight tickets sold particularly well, and "Nameless" mainly relied on the midnight performance, because the daytime show was snatched away. Analyzing the structure of moviegoers, it is to take good care of the elderly, put the children to sleep, and the two go out to watch movies, so the performances after ten o'clock sold particularly well.
Another dimension, Bona Film has made an attempt to make new mainstream blockbusters in recent years, making the theme of the main theme in genre films, adding new technologies to make the picture better and the visual impact more, but our ability to tell stories is the most advantageous in Chinese films, which can be traced back to "A River Flows East" in the 40s and many classic movies in the 80s. Coupled with modern technology and modern production concepts and contexts, I especially hope that Chinese films can make progress in storytelling and genre breakthroughs, aesthetic breakthroughs, etc., and can go more solidly, which is the most important aspect of Chinese films to win audiences.
Scientific and technological innovation on the road to industrialization
General Manager of China Mobile Migu
Throughout the history of film, it is a new type of art form produced by the combination of technological innovation and artistic expression, in fact, in the process of the formal expression of each art, technology has played a more or less role in continuous improvement and promotion.
The film and television industry has always been the crown jewel of the audiovisual industry, a form of presentation representing the entire technical collection, it should always be the most active embrace of technological innovation, and it is a model of the first application. From the perspective of the definition of the meta-universe, China Mobile sees the essence of the meta-universe as a space-time construction, building a new digital space-time that is native and physical space-time, but deeply integrated with it.
In this sense, it will bring time compression and space expansion to both the creation and the audience. Technically, we can bring new expressions to the main creators, directors, and actors, and the way of storytelling, storytelling means, and the effect presented to the audience, etc., will be compressed in cost and time, and greatly released in space and expression.
We also hope that whether it is artificial intelligence or computing power network, it is actually a technical tool, which can help us improve efficiency, reduce costs and difficulty of participation, bring broader space and broader opportunities for movies and creators, and bring users more diversified and extreme experience, which is the direction of our efforts.
My focus on the possible changes that technology might make to film right now is twofold. First, AI is promoting and changing film production, especially those currently related to digital production, such as animated films. I estimate that the efficiency improvement of AI on the main links of animated films may reach a 50% efficiency improvement, that is, the shortening of time, and the entire animation film production cycle may increase its efficiency by 30%, that is, we originally planned to release 3 animated films per year, and now we have the opportunity to do 4.
The specific application is still in the exploration stage, looking at the preliminary results, AI changes to animation production are very surprising, such as doing some scenes, image design, shots, storyboards, these designs are originally may take a very mature artist to spend a month to make scene maps, of course, there is training in front, remove the time of training, (AI) a night can output thousands of pictures, much better than a person in a month to draw a picture of the scene, I looked at these pictures, I think it's far more than we think.
This is a very small case, in fact, it can penetrate almost all aspects of digital film, animated film production. Most of our films are now digitally produced, digital instead of film is the biggest change that has occurred in the past 20 years, movies have become what they are now, and AI has made movies become another way, efficiency improvement, creative richness, effect greatly improved and so on.
On the second level, I am very concerned about the changes that VR will make to future film distribution and screenings, especially after Apple's release of VR, which brings another possibility, that is, the possibility of a personal first round of theaters. For example, in the future, you buy a movie ticket in Maoyan, you can watch it in the cinema, you can also watch it on your own VR, Maoyan pushes the film to your VR, and you can see the effect comparable to the cinema at home, so that the problem of cinema attendance, marketing, promotion, distribution and a series of other problems, may have a fundamental improvement.
Of course this is a possibility, in fact, technology does not have a definitive answer for us, there are many things that we need to explore. Chinese has been at the forefront of many explorations in film, such as electronic ticket sales, marketing and promotion methods, the integration and borrowing of our Internet and other Internet platforms are at the forefront of the world, I believe we may still be at the forefront of the world when new technologies arrive.
Promote the high-quality development of Chinese films
The so-called high quality is nothing more than these levels - first, the supply-side creation level. We must create more, richer and more types of films, which are derived from the unique artistic charm of the film at the artistic expression level of the film, and increase the supply of supply-side products at this level; In addition, we must respect the market, we must respect the audience, because without a terminal film market, without terminal demand, our supply is relatively empty and pale.
For example, I made a movie that I think is very good, that is for myself, and the movie is for the audience, for everyone to see, to make a good movie and a movie for everyone, I think this is the basis for high-quality development. When we talk about high-quality development, how many of us have won the Palme d'Or and various awards in Cannes, but if there is no resonance with the audience and all the author's films, Chinese films cannot talk about high-quality development.
So we must respect art and respect the laws of technology at the same time, but also more respect the audience, respect the market, take the audience as the core, the audience is our God, do we really use the audience as God when creating a film? Is it to create with our market and our core mainstream values? So I think at this level, if we want high-quality development, we must firmly grasp our original intention.
Second, with the rapid growth and development of Chinese films in the past 20 years, our film ecology has been in a process of expansion or rapid development from investment and financing to creation, including distribution, etc., which will bring some problems. We must let it return to the film itself, to the commercial attributes and market attributes as a basic cultural product to evaluate and invest in films.
Why are many investors staying away from movies now? It is because its input-output ratio is completely inconsistent with normal investment relationships. If there are too many bubbles, how can high quality grow after the input and output of our films in the future lack motivation? Therefore, I think we must grow steadily based on the market, don't be flustered after experiencing impetuous and rapid growth, still follow the bubble, and must let it return to the body, so that we can have a healthy organism and be able to talk about high quality.
I have two wishes, one big and one small. The big wish is to hope that relevant departments and industries will work together to formulate a set of policies tilted towards the content side, including the adjustment of the proportion of votes and accounts I have been proposing, the tax incentives for the content industry, and the tilt in the use of film funds, as well as the improvement of content review efficiency, including the adjustment of the flexibility of content "going out" review, etc., which are all policies conducive to the development of the content industry.
We have 8 or 900 films in a normal year that can obtain distribution licenses, but there are 4 or 500 films that can be released, and most of the films on the film are one-day or a few day tours, and they can't get the arrangement, because there is a problem with the unified screening method, so everyone proposes to split the screening to give more small and medium-sized films the opportunity.
But this matter has been said for many years, and it is not difficult to operate, so why not do it? I think we can do this this year, the split screening may become a reality at the end of this year, and even next year's Spring Festival we can also split the line screening, so that the choice space of Chinese film audiences will be greatly improved, the attendance rate of some theaters that are not very good may also be improved, some small and medium-sized films, exploratory, artistic films and new space, such a good thing, not much difficulty in a thing, things that are beneficial to all parties, why can't it be done immediately?
Chinese film director, screenwriter and producer
Our art films have actually encountered unprecedented challenges, most of the art films are now broadcast through the Internet, the fast forward button can destroy art films, now people are used to brushing short videos, consciousness is fragmented, when a very slow pace of art films in front of him, he can't sink his heart. In fact, art films penetrate into your heart little by little to conquer you, but with a fast-forward approach, intellectual property rights are not protected, and all creators are dismembered, and this problem is very serious.
Just now everyone also discussed the concept of AI, we know that all human behavior patterns are based on language, so "A Brief History of Mankind" says that humans can tell stories, and humans have overcome everything. ChatGPT is a conversational mode, it's a computer, you operate it to talk to you. AI this thing we can not draw conclusions now, we have to summarize what it is at the beginning, we humans can not do, too early conclusion we must suffer, because a new thing comes out, the easiest to want to listen to it is already solidified some people, children will not, they will live with it, grow together, naturally establish some relationships. Human beings may have developed tremendously because of AI, and the future is unpredictable.
Film is the most integrated and sensitive industry of all science and technology, so this technology will definitely affect me. A few days ago, a director had a conversation with ChatGPT, saying that he needed to shoot a middle-aged European man, what he wanted to say, what he wanted his background to be, and then he got a video. What if the performance is not satisfactory? You can also continue to talk to it, saying that his eyes are not melancholy enough, and then the eyes are melancholy in the video; If you say that he speaks fast, you can adjust it to slow down - if this instruction is issued by the boss, then isn't the director gone?
So what we have must be a huge challenge, and this is another opportunity, which may bring about a fundamental change in the way people read movies.
Director of "Megalodon 2: The Abyss"
Can ChatGPT write scripts? I've tried writing scripts in ChatGPT and it sucks to write. So I think it might be faster for you to write your own words, at least for now. ChatGPT wrote this script, and his own comments on his script were also boastful, saying that it was very well written, and I told ChatGPT that you are not very well written, and I gave it negative criticism and comments, and it gave very negative comments based on my tips and questions - so it is not very real, it feels like it is writing a script, but it is not writing a script, just entering some information words into it to produce a text, so this may be problematic from a creative point of view.
But ChatGPT will also generate some pictures, from the perspective of its own creation, can quickly create some concepts, and then share with our human peers, based on this, accelerate human creation. On the whole, it is still relatively general, and it cannot compete with the pure and wild imagination of human beings, let alone replace human beings. It looks like this picture is beautiful, but it's not really a human image, so it's useful as a tool, but whether it can replace the human element that excites us, I don't think so. I also understand that it's helpful for animation, including other fields, it's a tool, but it's not a replacement for humans.
CEO of IMAX China
I really think Chinese audiences are getting more discerning, they care more about the story, they care more about the experience, whatever the genre. The previous pre-sale box office can be predicted accurately, and now, especially this year, the pre-sale box office is weak. It's not that I don't think people want to go to the cinema to watch movies, it's because he has to observe and listen to word of mouth first, word of mouth is too important.
This is actually a particularly good trend for the entire market, including the industry, and it is also pressure on filmmakers in our industry, and it is a healthy pressure - to do a better story, to control costs. Especially for us to provide a richer experience at IMAX, this is putting pressure on us. People who do theaters must constantly attract people to come to the cinema to watch, because there are many screens of different sizes now, why should people come to your cinema to watch movies?
I also watched Apple's new product that day and was surprised - will it completely turn off the habit of going to the cinema to watch movies? No way. Why do you say that? It's because we humans have the DNA of group social entertainment, and we like to listen to stories and watch stories with other people. Cave people on the top of the mountain have sat by a bonfire for thousands of years listening to stories, in fact, the bonfire at that time was our current big screen, the same, no change, just a change in form. Therefore, from the perspective of doing theaters and large screens, we welcome high-tech into our industry, which will definitely help and empower.
Director, screenwriter, producer
Let me talk about my creative experience in recent years, maybe because everyone has slowed down due to the epidemic, giving everyone more time to think, I think my mentality has changed somewhat. For example, when it comes to creative diversity and diversified creation, in my understanding, the diversity of creation may be the diversity of subject matter, the diversity of genres, the diversity of the industry, or the diversity of the author himself.
For example, my new elderly theme may also be a diversified change or exploration for me in the field of my feature films. But a few years ago I definitely wouldn't think so, I felt a few years ago that I made a realistic movie, the next one must make a science fiction, and then the next film to shoot a martial arts, this is my diversified creation, it seems that I feel that I keep changing genres, changing the so-called track, I think this is the embodiment of my creative exploration spirit. But in recent years, I feel that what our industry lacks is that many creators should be deeply engaged in a field where they already have experience, or are good at it.
For example, I go to shoot a science fiction now, I think it is very fresh, I think all the creative challenges that have brought me are fresh, very novel, and satisfy my curiosity. But maybe Guo Fan has done it three years ago, my freshness now may be the detour Guo Fan took three years ago, I walked again, I am satisfying my curiosity or selfish interests for diversified creation, I think this kind of creation is relatively speaking, I boil it down to more selfish creation, I also admit that creators must have a selfish side, the problem is, how do we broaden this subject matter in the field we are good at under this more self-like creation, and do different attempts, Discover different attempts in life.
How to integrate with international standards is like the trap of diversified creation, Chinese films are internationally recognized is also a trap, I think we can't diversify for the sake of diversification, nor can we internationalize for the sake of internationalization, which is why we repeatedly mention telling Chinese stories well.
I don't think it's really time to trick audiences into theaters with one or two gimmicks. Maybe it turns out that we use publicity means, novel methods, and tricks to market, at least we can deceive the first set of audiences, they are very disappointed and angry after watching the movie, maybe we have done this kind of thing too many times, and the audience slowly does not trust us very much.
I think the most important question, the first is that the audience has grown; Second, I think that many of our creators have a bankrupt reputation, which is a problem worth reflecting on as creators, the means of marketing and distribution should be the problem that film companies or bosses think about, creators or return to the film itself to think about this problem, we can't blame the audience for maturity, and even we should call on the audience to become more and more mature, we should not blame them for being cautious and picky, but should reflect on whether we sometimes relax ourselves in creation.
Sometimes when I was filming, I thought, if I shouted this five years ago, I think the audience is so picky now, we have to try a few more times to see if it can be better, I think as creators should have such a mentality, we should not be so high, don't feel that considering the masses will stay away from art, this is not a contradiction at all. Drama can be a drama because it has an audience, it is a drama, and if there is no audience, you can perform on stage, and that is not a drama.