The Motion PictureAssociation (MPA) is holding a series of workshops on film production andscreenwriting in Beijing starting this weekend.

Organised with the supportof the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT), the five-daycourse offers 20 Chinese producers and 20 screenwriters the chance to developtheir projects with help from established Hollywood professionals.

The film production workshopsstart this weekend (March 19-21) while the screenwriting course takes placenext week (March 23-24).

Lecturers include EmergingPictures CEO Ira Deutchman, InDigEnt's Jake Abraham, screenwriters Tom Muscaand Ramon Menendez, who co-wrote TortillaSoup, and entertainment lawyer Harris Tulchin.

"Our goal in organisingthese workshops is to work with SARFT to help the local film industry worktowards realising the potential of a successful, legitimate film market that todate has largely remained untapped," said Mike Ellis, MPA senior vice presidentand regional director, Asia-Pacific.

"MPA member companies aremaking significant investments in China's theatrical infrastructure - modern cinemas - thatwill boost the local industry by making going to the movies a more attractiveexperience," Ellis continued.

"Through the workshops, wecontinue that co-operation by sharing Hollywood productionperspectives, and we are delighted that our Chinese friends and colleagues feelthat we can support the growth of the Chinese film industry in this way."

The course is free of chargeto participants and will have an emphasis, at SARFT's request, on marketing andthe US independent production model.

The screenwriting workshopfeatures a competition for the best scripts with the top prize of a trip to Los Angeles for meetings with the MPA and independent studioexecutives.

The MPA, which representsthe major US studios, has previously held production workshops inLatin America but this is the first time the initiative had beenheld in the Asia Pacific region.