Seeking to collaborate

Jackie Chan-starring Bleeding Steel, which shot 28 days in Australia and recruited 250 locals, exemplifies the latest cinematic collaboration between China and Australia. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Australian movie and TV producers unveil projects combining Chinese and Australian elements. Xu Fan reports.

Over the past few years, Australian filmmaker Tony Coombs has toured Yunnan province in southwestern China many times. He went there as he was fascinated by the ethnic Yi fable of Ashima, a beautiful young woman who rejects an evil lord son’s proposal, to pursue her true love.

Believing that the story could easily be made accessible to an international audience with a well-developed storyline, Coombs did research on the local history, watched the 1964 Chinese movie Ashima, and wrote a script for an animated feature called Girl of Ashima.

Now, he is seeking Chinese partners to work on the project, and says he hopes to bring the Chinese story to a broader, younger audience, internationally.

Last week, at a forum at the China Australia International Film Season held in Wuhan, capital of Hubei province, Coombs alongside his partner David Redman promoted the movie.

They were among a nearly 40-member team from the Australian film industry who were in China to seek opportunities in collaboration.

The Chinese film industry’s rapid rise in recent years has made the country one of the world’s most alluring markets for foreign players.

Despite having a long history of working with Hollywood, Australian filmmakers are now shifting their focus to China, the world’s second-largest movie market.

The Wuhan event, held over Nov 7-9, is a follow-up event to the fourth China Australia International Film Festival, which is backed by the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television to promote cinematic exchanges between China and Australia.

The Wuhan show was hosted by the publicity department of the Wuhan government, the Wuhan International Culture Association and the Brisbane-based company VAC International Group.

At the three-day event, 11 movies-including Australian star Jack Thompson’s Don’t Tell and Chinese documentary Twenty Two-were shown in nine cinemas and four universities in Wuhan, attracting more than 10,000 viewers to a total of 30 screenings.

But despite the films, the two forums held on Nov 9 to discuss the future of coproducing works with Australia were of key interest to Chinese decision-makers and producers.

At the event, Australian producers from 10 movie and television companies unveiled more than 20 projects combining Chinese and Australian elements.

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