Key business leaders are plotting the future course of the Chinese film industry. Screen profiles the leading executives on the international radar
Han Sanping, China Film Group Corporation
Han Sanping [pictured] is the chairman of state-owned studio China Film Group Corporation (CFGC) and one of the most powerful figures in the Chinese industry. Supervised by SARFT, CFGC controls a majority of China’s film resources, as well as administering the country’s film policies.
China Film Group controls the import of foreign films and the distribution of those titles, a role it shares with Huaxia Film Distribution. CFGC also owns Beijing Film Studio, movie channel CCTV6 and two post-production companies, and has shares in seven cinema chains. At CFGC, Han has helped develop several big-budget international co-productions such as John Woo’s Red Cliff and Stephen Chow’s CJ7.
CFGC’s main productions this year include The Founding Of A Party and Flying Tigers.
Contact: (86) 10 6225 4488
Ren Zhonglun, Shanghai Film Group Corporation
Ren Zhonglun is president of the Shanghai Film Group (SFG), generally seen as the second-largest state-owned studio in China after China Film Group.
The company owns Shanghai Film Studio, Shanghai Animation Film Studio and three other production studios as well as East Film & TV Distribution Company and state-owned East Movie Channel. SFG’s exhibition business, Shanghai United Circuit, is one of China’s top three cinema chains.
SFG also invests in foreign films and has co-produced titles such as James Ivory’s The White Countess, Jia Zhangke’s Still Life and Wong Kar Wai’s My Blueberry Nights.
Contact: (86) 21 6438 7100
Zhao Shi and Zhang Pimin, SARFT
Zhao Shi (pictured, left) and Zhang Pimin are deputy directors of the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT), China’s main government department in charge of film, TV and radio businesses and policies — including import quotas, censorship, statistics and, going forward, whether to implement a film-rating system.
SARFT has five deputy directors but Zhao and Zhang are in charge of film-related affairs, representing the government at events and festivals at home and sometimes overseas.
One of SARFT’s main film-related tasks in 2011 is to help draft the Film Industry Promotion law, which is the first governing all policies related to film and will have a special focus on copyright protection and the privatisation of state-owned studios in China.
Zhao was a film director and head of the state-owned Changchun Film Studio before joining SARFT in 1996. Zhang was head of state-owned Xian Film Studio before moving to SARFT in 2001.
Contact: email@example.com; (86) 21 53080303
Zhong Lifang, Beijing Galloping Horse Group
Zhong Lifang is vice-president of Beijing Galloping Horse Group, a new film investment and distribution company. Established in 1998 as a TV and advertising company, the outfit has become well-known for making hit TV dramas and in 2008 it received $40m investment from Baring Private Equity Partners Asia.
The company began investing in film in 2009 and signed production deals with John Woo and Ning Hao. It has invested in Reign Of Assassins, The Karate Kid and Chinese Odyssey.
Contact: (86) 10 8499 0260
Zhang Zhao, Enlight Pictures
Zhang Zhao is president of Enlight Pictures, the film business arm of Enlight Media, one of China’s largest TV studios. Established in 2006, Enlight Pictures started as a movie distributor before moving into film investment and co-production. In the past three years, it has released more than 20 titles including Wong Kar Wai’s Ashes Of Time Redux and animated film Astro Boy. The company also buys independent international titles to distribute in mainland China.
Contact: (86) 10 6451 6000
Zhang Xun, China Film Co-production Company
Zhang Xun is the general manager of China Film Co-production Company (CFCC), the government department in charge of all matters relating to co-productions between Chinese and foreign partners.
CFCC processes co-production applications and assists producers. Once it has verified a co-production, CFCC sends the project to SARFT censors for approval.
Recently approved co-productions which are set to shoot in 2011 include historical fantasy The Legend Of Apotheosis, a China-Germany co-production; China-Japan romantic comedy Mr And Mrs Single; and John Woo’s Second World War title Flying Tigers.
CFCC also recommends Chinese partners for foreign production companies and handles visas and customs clearance for filming facilities and equipment. The Chinese government recently set up cash awards to encourage international sales of co-productions, and is also encouraging co-productions to stay in China for post work.
Wang Zhongjun and Wang Zhonglei, Huayi Brothers Media
An integrated entertainment media conglomerate, Huayi Brothers Media is one of the largest private studios in China, famous for producing Feng Xiaogang’s Chinese-language blockbusters such as the recent smash Aftershock. Wang Zhongjun is president and his younger brother Wang Zhonglei is CEO and also takes charge of Huayi Brothers Pictures, the group’s film production and distribution arm.
Huayi Brothers Media has co-produced high-profile international co-productions such as The Forbidden Kingdom with Relativity Media and Shanghai with The Weinstein Company.
Besides film and TV production, distribution and artist management, the company has started to explore exhibition, theme park and gaming businesses.
Contact: Leslie Chen, international sales and acquisitions, firstname.lastname@example.org
Yu Dong, Bona Film Group
Yu Dong is founder and chairman of Beijing-based Bona Film Group. Bona started as a film distribution company and is one of the largest private film distributors in China, releasing an average of 20 films a year.
Bona stepped into film production, exhibition and artist management in 2008 and has so far invested in blockbusters such as Bodyguards And Assassins, Tsui Hark’s 3D martial-arts drama The Flying Swords Of Dragon Gate and the Chinese remake of What Women Want. Bona Film Group’s Hong Kong-based subsidiary Distribution Workshop handles the group’s international sales and acquisition affairs.
Contact: (86) 10 5928 3663
Peter Loehr, Creative Artists Agency (CAA) China
As managing director of CAA’s China operation, Peter Loehr introduced the concept of packaging to China and has been involved in the financing of around 50 Chinese movies, from low-budget sleeper hit One Night In Supermarket to John Woo’s upcoming $90m Flying Tigers. These films have featured talent from CAA’s roster of more than 70 directors, writers and actors from China, Korea and Japan, including Daniel Wu, Huang Bo, Ning Hao and Lu Chuan.
Under Loehr’s stewardship, CAA has also started representing financing outfits such as Beijing Galloping Horse and been involved in structuring Sino-foreign co-productions, such as The Karate Kid and Rob Minkoff’s upcoming Chinese Odyssey.
Long-established as the go-to guy in Beijing, US-born Loehr speaks fluent Chinese and Japanese. Before joining CAA in 2005, he worked as a producer for 10 years, with credits including Zhang Yang’s Shower and Roger Spottiswoode’s The Children Of Huang Shi.
Qin Hong, Stellar Megamedia
Qin Hong is chairman of Beijing-based Stellar Megamedia Group and Stellar Mega Films Co. Stellar Megamedia Group’s business covers film production, distribution, exhibition and post-production.
The company positions itself as a studio producing prestigious auteurs. Major Stellar investments have included Peter Ho-sun Chan’s Perhaps Love and his upcoming martial-arts drama Wu Xia, Lu Chuan’s City Of Life And Death and Chen Kaige’s Sacrifice.
The company recently acquired Australian visual-effects and CGI company Photon and plans to set up a post-production company and develop a visual-effects school in China.
Stellar Megamedia co-owns China Film Stellar Theater Chain, which was the second highest-grossing cinema chain in 2010.
Contact: (86) 10 5768 1188
Chen Xiaowei, Orange Sky Golden Harvest
Chen Xiaowei is the CEO of Beijing-based Orange Sky Entertainment Group, working under Wu Kebo, chairman of Hong Kong-listed Orange Sky Golden Harvest Entertainment.
Established in 2004, Orange Sky is an entertainment firm which rapidly expanded through a series of mergers and acquisitions. In 2006 Wu introduced Japan’s Avex Group as Orange Sky’s strategic investor, and in 2007 it acquired a major stake in Hong Kong’s Golden Harvest. In 2009 the company was renamed Orange Sky Golden Harvest and has since moved into exhibition, developing multiplexes in mainland China.
Chen took the CEO post last September and announced the company was acquiring a 3.3% stake in Legendary Pictures. The two companies agreed to jointly develop Chinese-language films, as well as online, mobile phone and video games.
Contact: (86) 10 5920 5000
Li Ruigang, Shanghai Media Group
Li Ruigang is president of Shanghai Media Group (SMG), a Shanghai-based multimedia conglomerate. Since 2002, under Li’s leadership, SMG has run a portfolio of media and related businesses, including TV, radio, print and digital media, home shopping and content distribution.
SMG has been investing in films since 2009, with credits including Bodyguards And Assassins and animation franchise Pleasant Goat And Big Big Wolf.
Li is also chairman of China Media Capital (CMC), the country’s first and only sovereign private equity fund. The company’s first investment is acquiring a controlling stake in News Corp’s STAR China’s TV businesses.
Li was recently appointed a non-executive director of communication group WPP, becoming the group’s first director from mainland China.
Contact: (86) 21 5308 0303