INTERVIEWS, NEWS — 12/26/2010 6:44 PM

Chaowei Chang (SUNTV / China – HK) : “We would like to work with European producers on some doc projects.”

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As production supervisor of  Documentary center, Chaowei Chang is in charge of developing the new doc project for Sun TV, a 24 hours chinese language multiplatform broadcaster.

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Can you present your own personal stories?

I am currently the Production Supervisor of SUNTV documentary center and work on developing various doc projects in Great China area. Before, I was Chief Producer of CNEX Foundation, director for PTS Taiwan and producer at The Moving Visuals (SG). I worked on different doc projects : “Rome, The Lost City of China” for Discovery Asia , “China Fast Forward”, “Making Mao”.
Can you present SunTV ?

Sun TV was launched on 8 August 2000 in Hong Kong. Current president Chen Ping took over in 2005. Now it’s a multi-platform channel dedicated ONLY to in-depth commentary program and documentary. The programming is aimed to the Chinese elites.

SUNTV set headquarter in HK and have production center at Beijing. The Taiwan branch is going to launch in early 2011. We have about 120 employees right now. The broadcasting go thru satellite and internet covering Asia-Pacific area, especially mainland China. And we plan to penetrate North America, Taiwan and Southeast Asia in next year.

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SunTV is a documentary channel ?

About half of the programming is doc. For the documentary, SUNTV used to produce biography, culture and rural issues. Now we focus on re-discovering and re-interpreting the long-twisted modern history of Chinese societies. We try to re-write modern history in visual way with the position of the independent citizenship.
Apart from “THREE GORGES” (see the interview), we are now producing bio doc on the founder of CCP, leader of 1911 republic revolution, as well as the doc about suppression of intellectuals in 1950s and the great famine in late 1950s.

What are your projects in 2011 ?

Apart from these doc projects, we plan to produce about 100 hours new doc in 2011, including a belt program, Midnight Express, introducing Chinese independent doc. We would like to work with European producers on certain projects. Sun TV is currently producing a new doc about 3 Gorges Dam. European partners are welcome ! (see the presentation of the doc project and the interview of Li Bo and Chaowei Chang)

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Are u producing all your doc content in house ?

About half of the doc content is made in house. The ratio will rise in the coming year.

We acquire doc content from China as well as abroad.

What kind of subjects / topics are u looking from abroad ?

We are mostly acquiring history, culture, biography, current affair and political issues.

How can you avoid censorship ?

We don’t have ideological burden as we are based in Hongkong. And we don’t have political and commercial interest in China.

How do you see the future of doc production, distribution and broadcasting in mainland China ?

Doc cooperation between Europe and China would work for culture, science and natural history content. As CCTV is going to launch a new doc channel, and others would follow, there will be more opportunities of cooperation.
Concerning more sensitive issues, cooperation or distribution of foreign content can only go by new media platform and new business model which SUNTV is building up.

How do you see the emergence of new independent producer and editor in China ?

That’s great. We have more partners to work with. And we need to work with those emerging doc makers who are enthusiastic and professional on modern history and in-depth commentary.

Interview by mail on 8th December 2010

Sun TV in the press :

Chinese TV Host Yang Lan Stays True to Self to Build Empire (1/09/2010)

China blocks Sun TV signal in content crackdown (Reuters, 14/12/2009)

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