China Film Zooms In On Money-for-Access Deal

CAPTION: “Beast of Burden” is a 3D animated NZ China co-production, one of 18 China projects involving North Auckland based Huhu Animation studios

The NZ Film Commission is pushing ahead with promotion of film and TV co-productions between kiwi and Chinese film companies. Chief executive Dave Gibson confirmed yesterday that representatives from the China Film Group and its subsidiaries were coming to New Zealand next month to develop projects with New Zealand filmmakers. The chinese influx follows  NZFC trips with government officials to China last year that promoted more use of the co-production deal. The co-production deal allows China to access generous NZ film incentives, and allows NZ film makers access to the China market where foreign film is otherwise heavily restricted.

Dave Gibson.
Dave Gibson.

Developing the Chinese business is among the main priorities for the Commission. The China Film Group and its subsidiaries  are the most influential state owned film enterprise in China.While in New Zealand the Chinese film players will be linked up with New Zealand production companies. Participants in the September meeting include the Shanghai Media Group, which is one of China’s biggest cultural conglomerates. Also Huaxia Film Beijing (the second largest film distributor in China, after China Film Group’s distribution entity, China Film Co).


Beast Of Burden ” an animated family film now in pre-production, is the story of a mythical creature and his son who learn to realize their potential by standing up to challenges. The film, whose Chinese title translates as “The Legend of the Magic Elephant,” is being co-directed by Kirby Atkins with China’s Huang Jun. It is produced by New Zealand’s Huhu Studios and China Film Animation with Huhu’s Trevor Yaxley and CFA’s Huang as producers Talent agency WME is responsible for sourcing English-language voice cast. US distribution is set through the Weinstein Company, while the film will be released in mainland China through China Distribution Company.

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