Chinese film industry set to outshine Hollywood
In June, Stage and Screen Business Development Manager Jacqui Walter travelled to Beijing for the annual Australia China Film Industry Exchange. With a report by research company IBISWorld estimating that the movie production industry in China generated $8.5 billion in 2018, the potential for Australia to attract Chinese productions is growing every year.
We asked Jacqui Walter about her visit and the future of the Australian and Chinese film industry working relationship.
What was the purpose of your trip to Beijing?
I was part of the annual Australia China Film Industry Exchange – an official, high-level film industry delegation designed to promote Australia as a high quality, cost-effective and highly skilled film production and post-production destination.
Who else was in the official party representing Australia?
The delegation was a joint collaboration between Ausfilm and Government Screen agencies, plus Ausfilm corporate members including Stage and Screen, Screen Queensland, Film Victoria, Rising Sun Pictures, the City of the Gold Coast, Create NSW, Fin Design & Effects and Simpsons Solicitors.
Who did you meet with and what was discussed?
Over four days we hosted networking events with Chinese screen professionals and production companies, attended industry meetings and visited Chinese companies in the film sector – including site visits to leading Chinese film companies Gravity Pictures and Alibaba. The Federal and State government agencies promoted a range of incentives open to Chinese film companies - including Producer, Location and PDV offsets. One of the highlights was an official networking function hosted at the Australian Embassy for over 100 guests, where much discussion centred around anticipated Chinese productions coming to Australia.
Was there a theme which dominated this year’s talks?
The hot topic was the current trade difficulties between China and the United States, which meant the timing was opportune for the Australian delegation as Chinese film companies are looking to locations other than the USA to shoot in.
What was Stage and Screen’s role?
I was there to represent both Stage and Screen and the broader film industry to explain the wide range of opportunities to film in Australia – while naturally also promoting the depth of experience that we as a travel company have in the film industry. All of the executives I met were keen to hear about our specialist film and TV production experience – which complements the strong international reputation which Australia has for creative and technical expertise in film design and post production.
You’ve attended this event a number of times, what changes have you seen?
It’s hard to understate what a powerhouse China is and the growth in the film industry continues to go from strength to strength. 2019 marks the ninth Australia China Film Industry Exchange and Australia is now widely recognised as having world-class facilities, crew and production houses. And thanks to collaborative initiatives such as this one, Australia has developed a significant track record of working successfully with Chinese film companies.
The result was a very successful mission and an invaluable relationship building trip, which should see a high volume of interest in filming in Australia. It also cemented friendships and working relationships within the delegation across Federal and State Screen agencies, post-production and legal companies.
Chinese Film Industry Facts
- According to Deloittes, by 2020 China's film industry’s rapid expansion will see revenue reaching RMB200 billion (AU$41.6 billion).
- By 2020 China will overtake North America in box office revenue and number of movie-goers.
- By 2020 China will become the largest film market in the world.
- In 2013 Chinese companies produced 824 films, while in 2018 the figure had grown to an estimated 998 – with more companies looking further afield to produce films.
- Movie the Legend of Sun and Moon – a Chinese-Australian co-production – recently spent $40 million on post-production in Australia.
- The Whistleblower another Australian-Chinese co-production also $40 million on filming and production in Australia.