Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

It's feeling very much like Hollywood North in Vancouver these days: Russell Crowe, here for the new Superman film Man of Steel, joined Keith Urban onstage at Rogers Arena Monday night; Matt Damon has been here shooting Neill Blomkamp's follow-up to District 9; and Robert Redford is shooting his next film here with a blockbuster cast that includes Shia LaBeouf, Susan Sarandon and Nick Nolte.

But increasingly the local production industry is also setting its sights further east, to China.

"It's the only film market that's growing at 30 or 40 per cent a year," Vancouver-based producer Harry Sutherland says. "This is the biggest single opportunity in the international film market anywhere in the world."

Story continues below advertisement

Sutherland is one of the locals scheduled to meet with a delegation of Chinese film types, due to arrive in Vancouver Wednesday, as part of an initiative organized by the Vancouver Film and Television Forum in conjunction with British Columbia Film and the Motion Picture Production Industry Association of British Columbia.

"When you look at the size of that market and the pace with which it is growing, you have to pay attention to that," British Columbia Film president and chief executive officer Richard Brownsey. "Whether at the end of the day it will turn out to be a really substantial market for us to work in, I'm not sure. But it is such a large market, growing so quickly, that you have to reach out."

Especially given current conditions affecting the lucrative service industry in Vancouver, including economic instability in the United States, the strong Canadian dollar and the cancellation of the harmonized sales tax in the province – which has been an attractive tax for the industry.

"Everything is in a bit of a state of chaos at the moment," Forum producer Fran Bergin says. "The international marketplace is down at the moment and I think it's just become harder and harder to close financing, so we need to find new partners. We need to be very active in that."

Chinese producers are particularly interested in Vancouver's postproduction and visual-effects houses, and there are several such facilities on the delegation's agenda. One company, Pegasus & Taihe Entertainment International, is here looking for a postproduction studio for its coming action film Dwelling in the Funchun Mountains.

The Chinese industry is also interested in Vancouver's training expertise; Brownsey says there's a possibility local institutions may eventually set up shop in Beijing. (Vancouver Film School opened an admissions office in Taiwan, which also serves China, in 2008.)

A similar delegation last year produced a memorandum of understanding between the China Film Producers' Association and British Columbia Film that called for increased collaboration, including the development of co-productions under existing China/Canada protocols. There has been a handful of such productions in recent years, including Iron Road, starring Peter O'Toole and Sam Neill, which was shot in China and British Columbia, and the miniseries Marco Polo and Son of the Dragon, both produced by Vancouver-based Reunion Pictures.

Story continues below advertisement

"Canada's a great co-producing country; we built our entire industry on co-production and on being a service industry to … Hollywood. So we know how to work with people. We have to. And I think that's what the Chinese see in us as partners," says Sutherland, who plans to shoot his next project, The Tea Merchant's Wife, in China next spring and has created a new company specifically to promote co-productions involving Canadian scripts and Chinese production financing.

"The one market we have to figure out, I think everybody realizes, is China. Because there's so much financing," he says. "China has got the financing capability and growth and market share that nobody else has."

Vancouver-based producer Wesley Lowe is also looking to China to finance his next project, a psychological thriller called Staged, about a North American pianist accused of murdering his Chinese girlfriend. "We think we'll be able to do the entire thing with Chinese money," says Lowe, who will also meet with the Chinese delegation. "That would make it a very interesting thing; perhaps the first English-language domestic Chinese production."

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies