‘Policies’ Tag
China Shuts Down Independent Film Festival in Beijing
Beijing, August 23rd (Hollywood Reporter)

Organizers experienced what is now an annual crackdown on their indie fest

Chinese authorities have once again shut down the 11th Beijing Independent Film Festival on its opening day, as the government keeps a tight leash on movies outside the state-approved system.

The festival tries to offer a platform for independent cinema, but for many months now, China’s ruling Communist Party has been tightening the screws on dissenting views, including movies from outside the highly monitored and heavily regulated Chinese film industry.

Critic Li Xianting, one of the organizers of the Beijing Independent Film Festival, told The Associated Press that police searched his office and confiscated materials he had gathered over more than 10 years.

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Source: Hollywood Reporter

China’s Foreign Movie Quota Set to Expand — For Arthouse Films
Hong Kong, April 11th (Hollywood Reporter)

If you’re paying attention to the rapid changes in China’s booming film industry — and you should be, considering its box office hit $1.08 billion in the first quarter, more than the total for the entire year of 2009 — the past few weeks have seen dizzying activity. What it means for Hollywood is complicated:

While it’s not official, insiders tell THR that the rumors are true: The annual limit on imported films — now at 34 — will be raised to 44. The catch? The new guidelines likely will open the market only to art-house-style releases. It’s a savvy move because “prestige” pics normally don’t take a bite out of China’s share of the box office. The country’s ruling party has made homegrown hits a priority, and it shows: Of the $3.6 billion in grosses in 2013, $2.12 billion, or 59 percent, came from domestic films.

Still, more access to foreign films means more opportunities for those all-important Hollywood-China partnerships. Just don’t expect Nebraska to pack them in at the Beijing multiplex.

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Source: Hollywood Reporter

Hong Kong Filmart Abuzz With Talk of China Market Liberalization
Hong Kong, March 24th (Hollywood Reporter)

Industry insiders at the annual market discuss a slew of recent developments that seem designed to make China a more open and hospitable market, but some remain cautious.

The possibility of liberalization of mainland China’s distribution system, news of a simultaneous U.S. and China launch for Johnny Depp’s Transcendence coupled with the sight of Scarlett Johansson and Samuel L. Jackson selling Captain America: The Winter Soldier at a Beijing shopping mall, the buzz at the annual Filmart market is all about how the world’s second-largest film market is becoming a more open and hospitable place.

The destiny of Hong Kong’s film business is inextricably linked to that of Mainland China, and developments north of the border are closely watched in the territory as just about everyone seems to have just come back from Hollywood for talks.

The last few weeks have seen a lot of activity, with Shanghai Media Group, China’s second biggest media group, inking a multi-year deal with Walt Disney Studios, and Huayi Bros announcing plans to inject up to $150 million into former Warner Bros. top executive Jeff Robinov’s Studio 8.

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Source: Hollywood Reporter

China Set to Award Landmark Second Theatrical Distribution License
Beijing, March 23rd (Hollywood Reporter)

The license will be issued to state-backed China National Culture & Art Corporation this week, breaking China Film Group’s hold on distributing imported movies.

The Chinese government is set to announce a second theatrical distribution license, breaking China Film’s monopoly on distributing revenue-sharing movies in the world’s second biggest film market.

The license will be awarded to the state-backed China National Culture & Art Corporation, which is linked to the Ministry of Culture, and senior government officials from the Ministry of Propaganda are expected in Hong Kong to announce the deal on Thursday.

China raised the number of foreign films that can be imported on a revenue-sharing basis to 34 in 2012, and sources recently said that there are plans afoot to raise the quota number again.

As it stands, the China Film Group and Huaxia Film Distribution are the only two companies allowed to handle theatrical distribution of foreign movies in China on a revenue-sharing basis.

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Source: Hollywood Reporter

China’s Censors Clamp Down on Booming Internet Video Sector
Beijing, March 20th (Hollywood Reporter)

The new rules will require censorship approval for all streaming video, which could dampen recent growth of Hollywood content sales to the country’s Internet giants.

China’s top industry watchdog has introduced a policy of “censor first, broadcast later” for local Internet companies streaming TV shows and movies, which could mean tighter control over online distribution of Hollywood content in China.

From now on, online companies will have to employ government-approved censors to vet content and obtain a censorship license, then monitor content before it is broadcast, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT) said in a statement on its website.

Online companies like Sohu, Youku Tudou and Baidu have been showing TV shows such as House of Cards and Modern Family after doing their own internal censorship. Sales to such sites had been viewed as a promising, and potentially very lucrative, new distribution channel for Hollywood in the country.

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Source: Hollywood Reporter

China’s New Plan: Tax Breaks for Movie Theaters
Beijing, March 12th (Hollywood Reporter)

Sources tell THR the government plans to introduce measures to boost the industry, including tax breaks for real estate companies that put theaters in shopping malls.

China’s remarkable movie boom during the past decade has been fueled by government investment in the film sector.

Now sources tell THR the government plans to introduce measures to boost the industry further, including tax breaks for real estate companies that put theaters in shopping malls. Should a developer try to replace a multiplex within a few years, it could face tax penalties and even fines, according to a source.

In 2013, 5,077 movie screens were added in China, bringing its total to nearly 18,200. (By contrast, there are about 40,000 in the U.S.) Incentives to encourage cinema construction are part of an effort by President Xi Jinping to grow the culture sector, which has been called a “pillar industry” as Beijing tries to keep expanding the Chinese economy.

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Source: Hollywood Reporter

China to Decentralize Censorship Process for Local Films
Beijing, March 7th (Hollywood Reporter)

Provincial film bureaus will be given authority to independently review movies, part of a plan to streamline the lengthy approval process.

China’s top film regulator is planning to decentralize the censorship process for local movies, granting bureaus in the provinces the power to examine films, as part of an effort to streamline the approvals process.

As it stands, filmmakers face lengthy waiting periods for approval of their movies from the Film Bureau in Beijing, which is part of the official watchdog, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT).

Hong Kong actor/director Jackie Chan and leading mainland Chinese director Feng Xiaogang made passionate pleas this week for less censorship of their films in China at a high-level Communist Party meeting in Beijing.

The move is due to happen in April and in theory it means that local films will get to cinemas more quickly. What is not clear is whether the change will mean it is easier for local directors to get controversial content past censors.

The censorship of imported Hollywood films, and co-productions with international firms, will remain under the control of the central Film Bureau in Beijing.

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Source: Hollywood Reporter

China Mulls Upping Film Quota by 10
Beijing, February 9th (Hollywood Reporter)

The decision to allow 44 foreign releases into the massive market could come as early next month.

The decision to allow 44 foreign releases into the massive market could come as early next month.

The Film Bureau in Beijing looks set to raise the quota of foreign movies allowed into China by 10 movies to 44 films, a sign of growing openness in the world’s second-biggest box-office market.

“We are examining raising the quota of foreign movies right now, probably by around 10 films. It’s being discussed but we haven’t made a decision yet,” a source tells THR.

Raising the quota could do much to improve relations between Hollywood and China, which have been tense in the past few months over difficulties regarding payment and a screening scheduling that favors local products.

While no deadline for the increase could be confirmed, the quota could be raised as soon as March, when China’s annual parliament, the National People’s Congress (NPC) gathers in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People.

In February 2012, China raised the number of overseas movies allowed to screen in China by 14 to 34 on a revenue-sharing basis, making way for more 3D and Imax titles.

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Source: Hollywood Reporter

Chinese Authorities Tighten Rules for Box Office Reporting
Beijing, January 23rd (Hollywood Reporter)

The country’s industry watchdog issues guidelines to prevent theaters from underreporting ticket sales to dodge taxes and cheat distributors.

China’s entertainment industry watchdog has introduced new rules clamping down on movie theaters manipulating box office data, viewership figures and other forms of fraud related to ticket sales.

The State General Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SGAPPRFT) has issued a circular with a new standard on the technicalities of managing cinema ticket sales. The rules are aimed at stopping tax avoidance by falsifying the numbers of moviegoers and reporting artificially reduced ticket sales.

“Film distributors should conduct routine inspections of cinemas and report those that break the rules whenever and wherever they are discovered. Persistent or severe offenders may have their licenses revoked,” the watchdog said, quoted by the Xinhua news agency.

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Source: Hollywood Reporter

21st Century Fox Sells Star China TV Stake
Beijing, January 3rd (Hollywood Reporter)

After struggling for years in the China market, Rupert Murdoch’s company has sold its 47 percent holding to the firm’s management group and private equity fund, CMC.

Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox has sold its 47 percent stake in Star China TV, which runs three Chinese-language television stations, to the company’s management team and the private equity fund, China Media Capital.
Financial details weren’t disclosed.

Established in 2010 and majority-owned by Chinese media executive Li Ruigang’s CMC, the joint venture operates three 24-hour channels: Xing Kong, Xing Kong International and Channel [V] Mainland China. It also operates the Fortune Star Chinese movie library, Fox said in a statement.

Murdoch reduced Fox’s holding in Star China from a controlling stake back in 2010, after struggling to gain traction in the Chinese market due to the highly regulated nature of the media business and multiple barriers to entry for foreign companies.

“Today’s divestment underscores our broader agenda of streamlining our affiliate ownership structures,” said James Murdoch, deputy chief operating officer of News Corp and son of Rupert Murdoch.

Source: Hollywood Reporter

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