Cultural differences can make dealing with China feel like “the Wild West”, a senior Constantin executive advised attendees at the AFM Finance Conference.

“We have done a couple of films in China and every time you branch out to a culture that’s very different to your own you’re dealing with an entirely new population and it isn’t going to work the way you think it should work,” said Marsha Metz (pictured, third from right), senior evp, business and legal affairs.

“Deals are done on handshakes. We’re paper-intensive but it’s different there. It’s like the Wild West and it can be good if you’re willing to get your gun and go for it but there are a lot of people crying on the sidelines.”

The Weinstein Company’s evp strategic initiatives, investment and banking David Hutkin (pictured, fourth from left)remarked how the rise of China as a market will create “two United States” and said India would follow suit as a potential giant.

Metz and Hutkin joined other seasoned financiers at the Fairmont for the Building Your Global Film Finance Strategy panel.

The general consensus was that while banks and equity players have returned to the space, it is important for producers to secure distribution or a sales agent first.

“Whatever distribution you have will dictate your capital structure,” said Metz.