Website opens up China’s film industry to the outside world

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China's state-run Film Bureau has opened an English-language website in a further sign that the country's movie industry is increasingly becoming part of the larger international picture.

A co-production with China Radio International, the site offers updates on films that are in production as well as film release dates, background information on the cast and crew and a plot outline.

There are also links to the websites of China's various film studios, interviews, reviews and reports on mainland films from the world's various festivals.

Importantly, too, the site is entirely in English - a reflection of China's growing stature as a film market.

The country is expecting its box office receipts to surpass 10 billion yuan (one billion euros) this year and it produced around 450 films in 2009 - few of which reached an audience outside of China other than as part of festival line-ups or with overseas Chinese communities.

But China is eager for this situation to change.

The director of the country's Bureau of Film Administration, Tong Gang, believes China is making "considerable progress'' in opening up its film industry and points to the increase in and success of co-productions with other Chinese-language filmmaking industries such as Hong Kong, as well as with Hollywood, as a sign of things to come.

The mainland Chinese-Hong Kong coproduction Bodyguards and Assassins is up for 18 prizes at the Hong Kong Film Awards ( on April 18 while director John Woo picked up the titles of Asia's box office champion at last week's Asian Film Awards after his Red Cliff - a China-US production - reaped around US$250 million (185 million euros).

Next up for release is the much anticipated Will Smith-Jackie Chan remake of the 1984 box office smash Karate Kid which has also been funded by both Chinese and American studios.

It takes the action and storyline from the original film, but concerns an African American boy who struggles with life in Beijing. The film is set for an Asian and American release on June 10 and 11.