BFI leads first major UK film industry delegation on trade mission to Beijing

Representatives from across the UK film industry visit China to explore opportunities for building creative and business partnerships.

A screening of Alfred Hitchcock’s Blackmail at the 2013 Shanghai International Film Festival

A screening of Alfred Hitchcock’s Blackmail at the 2013 Shanghai International Film Festival
Credit: British Council

A delegation of UK film industry professionals has arrived in Beijing to participate in the 4th Beijing International Film Festival and undertake an extensive programme of events and meetings as part of the first major UK film industry mission to China, led by the BFI in partnership with the British Council, China Britain Business Council (CBBC), the British Embassy, the British Council and UK Trade and Investment (UKTI).

During the next week, 12 leading British talent agents, producers, distributors, film sales companies, exhibitors, and representatives from the BFI, the British Film Commission and BBC Worldwide will meet with representatives from China’s film industry to explore opportunities for building creative and business partnerships between the UK and China. 

This trade delegation forms a key part of the BFI’s international strategy, which has identified China as a priority territory for the UK film industry offering opportunities across co-production, export and cultural exchange to drive growth, creatively, culturally and commercially. China is now the second largest cinema market in the world opening 4,000 new cinemas every year and achieving box office revenues last year of $3.6bn. Last December, BFI Chief Executive Officer Amanda Nevill joined Prime Minister David Cameron’s trade delegation to China during which a landmark co-production treaty was agreed and is now shortly to be signed and ratified. 

Amanda Nevill, BFI CEO says:

China is rapidly becoming one of our most important cultural, creative and economic partners and is a key territory in the BFI’s international strategy for UK film. Bringing this UK industry delegation to Beijing is one part of an extensive programme of landmark events that we have set up to take place in China and the UK throughout 2014, which are collectively designed to create opportunities for collaboration between these two inspiring film cultures and dynamic industries. 

We thank our partners at SARPPFT, the China Film Co-production Corporation and the 4th Beijing International Film Festival for the wonderful welcome extended to the UK delegation and this fantastic opportunity for our industries to explore our collective creative and technical talent, our wealth of stories, the strengths of our markets and our ability to connect with audiences worldwide.

The British film industry delegates arriving today includes agent Tor Belfrage from Julian Belrage Associates (Daniel Day-Lewis, Judi Dench, Carey Mulligan), line producer Mairi Bett from Skyline Films (Greenzone, The World’s End, Jane Eyre), Clare Binns from distributor/exhibitor Picturehouse Entertainment, producer Pete Czernin from Blueprint Pictures (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Seven Psychopaths, Posh), producer and distributor Will Clarke from Altitude Film Entertainment (Big Game, Kill Your Friends, 47 Meters Down), producer Robin Gutch from Warp Films/Warp X (’71, Kill List, Snowtown), sales agent Mercy Liao from West End Films (Albert Nobbs, A Late Quartet, The Invisible Woman), Ken Marshall from Steelmill Pictures (Filth, Song For Marion, London To Brighton), development executive producer Dan MacRae from production, distribution and sales house StudioCanal (Inside Llewyn Davis, Paddington, Macbeth), producer Rebecca O’Brien from Sixteen Films (Jimmy’s Hall, The Angels’ Share, The Wind That Shakes the Barley), sales agent Charlotte Van Weede from eOne Films International (The Babadook, Watermark, Le Démantelement), Teun Hilte from digital distributor Under the Milky Way, Isabel Davis, Head of International for the BFI, Samantha Perahia, Senior Production Executive from the British Film Commission and Stephen McDonogh, responsible securing production funding for BBC Worldwide productions.

In January the BFI launched its Electric Shadows programme (the Chinese term for movies:电影“diànyĭng”) and a year of unprecedented film collaboration with China, both cultural and industrial. The BFI is working alongside a range of key strategic partners throughout the year including the British Council, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, UKTI and the government’s GREAT Campaign.

Electric Shadows encompasses the BFI’s full range of exhibition, archive, digital, education, theatrical and DVD distribution and publishing initiatives, and its strategic leadership role for UK film. In addition to UK film industry trade missions to China, the ambitious programme is opening up previously hard to see Chinese cinema to UK audiences and making UK film accessible to what will soon become the world’s biggest box-office nation. Electric Shadows began in February with a special UK visit from China’s most successful and renowned director, Feng Xiaogang who came to the BFI for a celebration of his work and an exclusive In Conversation event.

The year will see a four month programme of extended major four-month retrospective, A Century of Chinese Cinema at BFI Southbank from June to early October 2014, this wide-ranging celebration also features the nationwide film releases plus screenings of Chinese classic films in key cities throughout the UK, DVD releases, a lavishly illustrated new BFI Compendium publication on the history of Chinese cinema, written by many of the world’s foremost authorities on Chinese film, and digital content on the BFI Player of incredibly rare non-fiction films of China from 1901 to 1949 from the BFI National Archive including early actuality footage, travelogues, newsreels and home movies.

The UK delegation in Beijing will be visiting meeting with producers, distributors, investors and production facilities including producers Huayi Brothers International, Dadi Media Group, Desen International Media, DMG Entertainment, Legendary East, Loulan Mystery Movie, Seven Stars Entertainment; distributors Bona Film Group, DMG Entertainment, Wanda Media; exhibitors Apex International Cinemas Investment, Dadi Digital Cinemas; online platform iQiyi.com; investment companies CEA Capital Advisory Group; and studios and post-production houses including Huairou Film Base, Tiangongyicai and Base FX .

The UK delegation will be in Beijing from 14-18 April.

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