Canada, China (mainland), Released docs — 02/18/2012 10:30 PM

Boxing clever in China (C21 Media)

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Bob Moore of EyeSteel Film tells Sean Davidson (C21 Media) about the challenges his firm faced in making “China Heavyweight”, a pioneering official coproduction between Canada and China.
 
Some things never change. Even in China, where so many things about the TV business are being turned on their heads, there still isn’t any money for documentaries. And that, says Bob Moore, producer and head of business and legal affairs at Montreal-based prodco EyeSteel Film, might be the most important thing to bear in mind when doing business in the land of the Great Wall.

“China will not bring its share of the money – it just doesn’t exist,” says Moore, recalling the run-up to making feature documentary China Heavyweight. “They’re used to making documentaries entirely in-house [at state broadcaster CCTV], so the notion of doing profit-based equity financing that’s not supported by some sort of government fund is still largely laughable. “There are people with millions and millions of dollars to invest in film but none of them want to put it into documentaries. They’re not stupid; they want to put it into genre fiction.”

“There are people with millions and millions of dollars to invest in film but none of them want to put it into documentaries. They’re not stupid; they want to put it into genre fiction.”

And yet Heavyweight got made – as an almost unheard-of official coproduction between Canada and China – largely thanks to some good old-fashioned networking and EyeSteel’s rising profile in Beijing. The company has been on a slow build in the country for years, starting back when its founders made a handful of arts docs there, followed more recently by the likes of Up The Yangtze and Last Train Home.

Last Train paved the way for China Heavyweight, which follows poor, rural teenagers as they are trained in Western-style boxing. It will also be screened in Chinese theatres and has been pre-sold to YLE in Finland, SuperChannel in Canada and Channel 4 in the UK. The pre-sales were especially needed to make up for the lack of money from China, says Moore.

He hopes that Heavyweight’s theatrical run will spark other sales in the region, but also wants to see it encourage more growth and investment in Chinese documentaries.

Read the full article on C21 Media

Film page on IMDB

SOURCE: C21 Media (17/02/12)

ON THE WEB:

. China Heavyweight

Telefilm

. Sundance 2012: Spotlight on Canadian docs

Realscreen

. Boxing doc KO’s presales
C21 Media 29/11/2011

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