Spacey lends a hand as Chinese cinema starts to go global

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The Independent Culture

Box office receipts are soaring, new screens are opening every other day and now Chinese cinema is now looking to expand beyond its own borders - with a little help from Hollywood.

Oscar-winner Kevin Spacey has just wrapped up shooting the thriller Inseparable in the southern city of Guangzhou - claimed to be the first time a Hollywood A-lister has starred in an all-Chinese production.

The film is expected to be released in China in August and has been put together entirely by the Beijing-based Colordance Pictures (http://www.colordance.com), with an eye on Spacey's audience-pulling power being able to open up the international market for the film at a later date.

And the China Film Group (CFG) - state-owned and the nation's largest filmmaking and film distribution organization - is currently helping put the finishing touches to the Jackie Chan-Will Smith remake of The Karate Kid (http://www.sonypictures.com/movies/thekaratekid), which moved the action to Beijing and is set for an international release in June.

Box office figures in mainland China edged towards US$1 billion (740,000,000 euros) in 2009 - a rise of 25 percent, year-on-year - and with six of the top 11 grossing films being CFG productions, the company is looking for bigger and better things in 2010.

Among others signed on to work with the studio this year are the internationally acclaimed directors John Woo ( Face/Off) and Stephen Chow ( Shaolin Soccer), while Chinese stars Chan and Andy Lau have been lined up for a remake of the Jet Li classic Shaolin Temple, which is due for release towards the end of the year.
But it's not just mainstream Chinese productions that are looking to go international.

Hong Kong's Entertainment Expo (http://eexpohk.com) started Monday and this year is focusing on developing China's documentary making industry - again, with an international flavor.

The "Asian Side of the Doc'' program which forms part of the Expo is looking to get international money and experience - particularly European - involved in Chinese documentaries and Chinese money involved in productions overseas.

"The audience for documentaries is growing every year,'' said Pierre-Yves Lochon, general manager of the SinapsesConseils organization which is helping organize the program.

"Aspiring doc makers from Asia - and from all over the world - must first find an original and involving subject and the best way to write and to tell this story. A good story allows documentary to travel all over the world.''

"Asian Side of the Doc'' features a series of seminars for those interested in making documentaries as well as networking sessions for those looking for money to get their projects made.

MS

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