|Wang Zhonglei at Hengdian Film Conference|
Winning Global Audience with a Sense of Local Culture
On October 28, the 2020 Hengdian Film Festival was opened, and two days later a meeting for sharing international experiences was held within the New Era Film & Television Culture Industry Development Conference. The themes of this year’s conference were “cross-border cooperation in innovative film and television content” and “strategic distribution under the global reform span.” Wang Zhonglei, CEO of Huayi Brothers, was invited to attend and discuss the themes with Chinese and international guests. As representative of China’s film and television enterprises, he also delivered a concluding speech.
Wang believes that the fundamental premise for internationalization is the thorough fostering of local culture. Filmmakers should start from local culture and recreate an emotive energy that resonates across a broad audience. This would gain international recognition through the dissemination of local culture and values.
Since its release on August 21, the war film produced by Huayi Brothers, The Eight Hundred, has won the support of audiences all over the country with its rich emotive message. Up to now, it has recorded over 310 million RMB at the box office and has become a domestic production that has reached the Top 2020 Movies at the Worldwide Box Office.
As a Chinese filmmaker, Wang claimed that international peers are appreciating and show respect for Chinese culture and Chinese audience. They are also adopting innovative film technology and creative concepts to work with China to bring the Chinese story to the world. Wang also hopes that Chinese filmmakers can base their works on the peculiar features of the Chinese nation, participating in the creation of film and television content with a global perspective, promote cultural confidence with significant works, and promote the integration of world cultures.
Due to the social nature and high population concentration of cinemas, the global film industry is facing enormous challenges under the influence of the pandemic. The pandemic has accelerated the integration of the film industry with the Internet, but it has also triggered a series of discussions on the adjustment and reform of the film industry at a global scale in this particular span of time.
In this regard, Wang believes that the pandemic has indeed caused a certain impact on traditional film screenings, but it does not mean that this will definitely become the new norm. Audience still like to go to the movies, depending on a range factors, including audio-visual experience, social and emotional needs, and the individual sense of ritual viewing.
When asked about the “corrosion” of the film distribution due to the media streaming distribution during the pandemic, Wang explained that he would not use the word “corrosion” to describe the impact of streaming media on film theaters. He reckons the two have not necessarily mutually exclusive relations, but can complement each other. Watching a film at the theater has its unique advantages, and the Internet film streaming also has its new needs. These two distribution modes will be parallel and symbiotic in the future to jointly promote the development of the film industry. (Translated by Marco Lovisetto, edited by Mariam Ayad)