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Inaugural Nanyang Technological University-King’s College London film studies conference placed a spotlight on Chinese film market and Asian cinema

Published on: 25-Sep-2017

In line with our belief to educate the next generation of leaders, WKWSCI actively seeks out partnerships with educational institutions renowned for their niche in the media and communication fields.

From 25 to 27 August 2017, we co-organised a film studies conference with King’s College London (KCL), which placed a spotlight on the “Chinese film market and Asian cinema”. The three-day event saw over 40 academic experts and industry professionals from Asia-Pacific, UK, and North America gather in at the National Museum of Singapore. This event was organised by our very own Sangjoon Lee and Leung Wing-Fai (King’s College London).

Here are some highlights from the inaugural NTU-KCL film studies conference:

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To kick off the conference, Chris Berry (King’s College London) delivered a keynote entitled “At Home in the World?: The Chinese Travel Film and the Chinese Feature Film Industry” on the opening evening (25 Aug). Through this talk, he examined the transformation of Chinese cinema and Chinese society and culture through the emergence of the Chinese travel film.

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The first panel on “Critical Interventions” brought scholars from the UK and USA together. Victor Fan (King’s College London) examined the definition of a “Chinese film market”, while Markus Nornes (University of Michigan) opined raised the suggestion of thinking about Chinese cinema as Asian cinema.

Additionally, Nitin Govil (University of Southern California) presented his case on how the success of Bombay film, “Dangal”, in China is intertwined with strategic, political and cinematic futures as India seeks to make its mark on an international order by positioning itself in relationship to China.

Tim Bergfelder (University of Southampton) was also a discussant at the panel.

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An industry panel on “International Coproduction and Chinese Film Market” saw three producers from Asia and beyond – Gina Kim (UCLA), Charlie Coker (Dasym Media) and Melvin Ang (mm2 Asia) – share their experience in this area. The session was moderated by Sangjoon Lee.

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Moving into the digital realm, Sangjoon Lee chaired a panel on “Going Online, Digital Media, and Chinese Media Industries”.

Presenting his paper “Going Online, Going Out, Moving Forward: On the Digital Frontier of Chinese Media Industries in Asia”, Michael Keane (Curtin University) examined Chinese digital companies’ acquired assets and capabilities.

Next, Patrice Poujol (City University of Hong Kong) explored “The Potential Development of a Participative Film Production Model Championed by Alibaba”, while Jinying Li (University of Pittsburgh) looked into the rise of IP cinema in China.

Finally, Aynne Kokas (University of Virginia) took a look at the Chinese digital distribution landscapes through “The Pander Express: Netflix, China, and the Nationalism of ‘Placeless’ Media.

Virginia Crisp (King’s College London) participated as a discussant at this session.

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The conference concluded with two panels on “Chinese Film Market and Asian Cinema”.

The first, chaired by WKWSCI’s own Liew Kai Khiun, saw Alex Fischer (Multimedia University, Malaysia) deliver a comparative analysis of China’s Hengdian World Studio and Malaysia’s Pinewood Iskandar Malaysia Studios – both of which represent centralised nodes for local and global productions in their countries.

Thomas Barker (University of Nottingham, Malaysia) then traced the location of Malaysia and Malaysians within Chinese cinemas, and S.V. Srinivas (Azim Premji University) shared that amid escalating tensions between China and India, Indian and Chinese cinemas would remain relevant even if the co-production agreement itself is undone by security considerations.

To end the session, Wesley Jacks (University of California, Santa Barbara) presented his paper on “Willing Collaborators: The Sino-Japanese Film Cooperation in the Early Reform Era”.

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As the last order of the conference, Leung Wing-Fai and Sangjoon Lee moderated a panel discussion on “Chinese Film Market and Asian Cinema”. Panellists included Chris Berry, Chua Beng Huat (National University of Singapore), Rosalind Galt (King’s College London), Sheldon Lu (University of California, Davis), Markus Nornes and Stephen Teo (WKWSCI).

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