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Shanghai takes many Kiwis

China’s A-list festival opens tomorrow, with a slightly depleted red-carpet bash following Thursday’s move to dis-invite Korean attendees and subject them to something akin to house arrest if they should turn up.

Little England

Greek title Little England, winner of last year’s Golden Goblet in Shanghai

They won’t be much missed on the red carpet, for which festival organisers have announced a contingent of 400 stars and other industry personnel. Actresses Gong Li, Zhang Ziyi, Fan Bingbing, Transformers’ Li Bingbing and former Tourism NZ ambassador Yao Chen will keep the paparazzi busy.

The Dark Horse will play in the festival’s Panorama line-up, along with co-production Slow West and the Anthony McCarten-scripted The Theory of Everything. Industry events kick off on Sunday with a solid NZ contingent on hand.

As CEO Dave Gibson has often stated, those who want to do business with China should be prepared to travel there a few times a year. As well as himself and the NZFC’s Jasmin McSweeney and Chris Payne, Jim He – organiser of the biennial China Film Festival here – and SIFF international delegate Michael Stephens will make the trip.

Two recipient companies of the Business Development Scheme are part of the NZ delegation. Field Theory’s Fiona Copland (Matariki, The Strength of Water) and Lloyd Meiklejohn make the trip, as does Gibson Group’s Victoria Spackman.

Flying the flag for the South Island, Queenstown-based producer Iris Weber and Queenstown Camera’s Brett Mills both travel.

Former NZFC development exec and producer Daniel Story (Housebound, Born to Dance) was part of the NZ delegation that went to the Beijing Film Festival in April. Also in Beijing were POW! Post’s Jack Irvine and John McKay, who’ll be in Shanghai to sign an agreement with Zhengzhou-based animation company York Shares. POW! score brownie points for having a Chinese-language website and a Chinese feature already under their belts, Li Yi’s animated 10,000 Years Later, which will play the NZIFF from next month.

Wendell Cooke, currently making Loading Docs title Killer App with Jeremy Macey, and Pukeko Pictures’ Clive Spink also travels, as does and Singapore-based producer Tristan Strange.

There’ll be a networking event aka cocktail party to promote the NZ offer on Wednesday. Gibson will speak on SIFFORUM panel ‘Made in China? The Future of Film Co-Production’ with the MPA’s William Feng, Island Film Group’s Ricardo Galindez, STX Entertainment’s Tom McGrath and EastWest Bank’s Bennett Pozil.

The Shanghai International Film Festival runs 13 – 21 June, Market events, including SIFForum and SIFFMArt, run 14 – 18 June.

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