Dan Glickman, chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), has called on China to open market access for foreign films while the country’s film business is experiencing an unprecedented boom. 

At a seminar at the Shanghai International Film Festival (SIFF) on Monday, Glickman congratulated the Chinese film industry’s continuous box office growth over the past five years and the tripling of its movie screen numbers, but pointed out that restricted market access and piracy may slow down progress.

“A healthy film industry and vibrant marketplace can bring great economic opportunities to both of our countries, and these opportunities serve as the foundation that keeps this vital artistic and creative medium vibrant,” he said.

Glickman mentioned film import quotas and blackouts as issues that make it difficult for the US and China to “best nurture the opportunity”.

When asked what the MPA had said in its recent talks with the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT), Glickman said: “we told them that the limitation on foreign film numbers is not in the best interests of both US producers and Chinese consumers.”

Glickman also pointed out that piracy would damage not just US and foreign film industries but also the Chinese film industry.

His fellow panellists – including Huayi Brothers chairman Wang Zhongjun and Edko Films’ Bill Kong – did not comment on his calls for an open market, but supported his plea that the Chinese government crack down on piracy.

Earlier in the day Glickman visited Fudan University in Shanghai, addressing the same issues to Chinese students and reporters.