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UPDATED: September 9, 2014
Bridging Europe and China
Venice film market director shares views on how Chinese cinema and festivals could better tackle the European market

Pascal Diot, Director of the Venice Film Market, sees China in the next years interesting high level film partnerships, noting that "Venice is an iconic place in China, so I see Venice a possible 'bridge' between Europe and Asia."

In an exclusive interview with Xinhua, Diot talked about how Chinese cinema and festivals could better tackle the European market.

Pascal Diot, expert in the international sales and international co-productions, is the Director of the Venice Film Market (2012-2014) and was Head of the Dubai International Film Festival Market (FILMMART) (2011-2013). He is also International Business Manager of the first European genre films co-production market "Frontieres" in Brussels (2014) and European Commission Media Expert.

Talking about Chinese movies in Europe, Diot said "some Chinese movies selected in important festivals, even if it's a limited release, can find big territories for distribution. Then it's a question of education because the European audience was not used to watch Chinese movies in the past so it's one of the role of festivals to help the audience to discover a new cinematography and to propose more and more Chinese movies, through the different sections, to the Italian and international audience."

The Film Market director then put the accent on screenwriters more than on subsidies, he explained: "I come from a country which is giving a lot of subsidies to cinema and I don't think this the solution. I think that Chinese cinema needs to develop more screenwriters' schools because it is important to write a story which will touch everyone. It can be a typically Chinese subject but with a universal feeling because cinema goes through the emotions first of all."

According to him it's important to develop more and more co-production treaties which are very important because automatically it pushes cinema professionals to try to understand each other's culture. "I think that in four or five years we will have films which are going to be a very good combination of both cultures without putting away the two identities," He said.

Festivals are also crucial but Diot explains that "the red carpet is not the first thing that you should have in a festival; you have to have a good balance between big film and commercial film but also be open to discover new talents. Beijing and Shanghai film festivals should enlarge the market because an important festival can't work without a dynamic market where professionals can meet and share experiences."

According to Diot Chinese cinema has stronger ties with Europe, he said: "I think that at this moment, Chinese cinema is looking more to the U.S. than to Europe but I'm also convinced that the Chinese culture is much closer to the European culture. In China and Europe there is a more profound respect for literature for example. Then I think that Chinese movies are first becoming more and more popular in Asia because the Chinese 'soft' power is growing."

Talking about this edition of the festival Diot is satisfied about the partnerships with Chinese cinema players. "I'm happy because after 3 years we have a Chinese friend sponsoring the market. Then I'm more in favor of long term relationship rather than short term because you need time to develop good projects, this philosophy is also part of the Asian culture."

About a future visit to China he said he would like to schedule a trip at the beginning of the next year but not during festivals because as former sales agent he likes to meet people in a quiet atmosphere.

About next year's edition of the market he is already positive "for 2015 I can already anticipate you that we will have a much bigger Asian presence in our film market," he said.

(Xinhua News Agency September 6, 2014)

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