Programme is aimed at developing Chinese and European projects spanning the two cultures.

A group of European producers is launching a new scriptwriting programme called “Bridging the Dragon”, aimed at developing Chinese and European projects spanning the two cultures.

“There’s a lot of curiosity on both sides but also a lot of ignorance… Chinese filmmakers don’t necessarily get European audiences and vice-versa…we want to foster projects which can potentially work in both markets,” explained Italian Cristiano Bortone, whose company Orisa Produzioni operates between Italy and Germany.

Bortone, whose credits include Maria, He Doesn’t Like It! and Stijn Coninx’s Marina, is also a tutor the Beijing Film Academy.

Other producers joining the initiative include Asia veteran Isabelle Glachant, who operates under the Chinese Shadows banner and is also the greater China representative for French film export agency Unifrance, and Dutch Leontine Petit of Amsterdam-based Lemming Film which is currently developing David Verbeek’s Shanghai-set vampire picture Dead & Beautiful.

Sophie Bordon, former chief executive of the Ateliers du Cinema Européen (ACE), will act as director if the programme.

The programme will select 14 projects with a China-Europe link per year. Applicants can be either a screenwriter or director writing their own scripts. 

The programme will revolve around two five-day, residential workshops spread over 12 months.

The group is aiming to set up partnerships with film festivals in Europe and China to host the workshops. Tutors will hail from both Europe and China.

At the end of the workshops, one project, with strong potential for Chinese European collaboration, will win a grant.

The group is currently preparing a funding application to the European MEDIA programme and hopes to put out its first call for entries later this autumn with an eye to kicking off the first edition in 2015