The Beijing International Film Festival; an opportunity to explore the growing African Film Industry

By Njoku SaintJerry A

“Luc Bendza has been leading the discussion for possibility of African and Chinese film makers to consider collaborations in the areas of growing interest on China-Africa cultural affiliations

The 12th Beijing International Film Festival (BJIFF) for the year 2022 has come and gone.
The event provided a high-end, professional and energetic showcase of Chinese films in general to the world depicting China’s image, make China’s voice heard and manifested China’s soft power and cultural diplomacy using the entertainment industry

The event organized by Beijing Municipal Film Administration in collaboration with Beijing Enterprises Group Company Ltd, China Film Association, China Film Producers’ Association, China Film Distribution & Exhibition Association, China Film Import & Export, Corporation and others had more than 600 movie stars from home and abroad and top movie industry practitioners whom had gathered to grace the occasion

Among special events in focus was the Project Pitches; The Project Pitches is an incubator designed for promising young filmmakers and outstanding film projects showcased during the Beijing Film Market. The event provides platform for project trading, professional training, talent hunting and provide opportunities for international exchanges in the movie industry.
This year project, code named the 12th Project pitches selected more than 20 film projects by top Directors, Movie producers and scriptwriters from China for final roadshow in which the best is selected for onward investment and collaboration where necessary.

Talking about investment and collaboration in China movie industry, Africa remains a fertile ground overdue for exploration and expansion. In Africa, Nigeria strikes a perfect potential for future partner with its growing movie industry addressed as “Nollywood’ in the manner of Bollywood of India and Hollywood of the United States

The Nigerian Film Industry (Nollywood) is globally recognized as the second largest film producer in the world providing Africa themed content that cut across everyday life and challenges and serves as a potential gateway for cultural education and exchange at the international scene.

The Nigerian film industry, also known as Nollywood, produces about 50 movies per week, second only to India’s Bollywood. Although its revenues are not at par with the China Movie Industry, However, Nollywood still generates an impressive $600 million annually which provides ample opportunity for investment and collaboration for a win-win situation that continue to project China as the right partner for Africa in virtually every sector of human and society development. Among hit topics on industry conversation during the 12th Beijing International Film Festival was the focus on film IP development which is said to support streaming services, Professional content sharing and training of talents.

Africa’s Wushu icon Luc Bendza, a China based Gabonese Actor and Martial Arts Instructor has been in forefront representing the dire need for China-Africa collaboration and training of talents in the movie industry and the Beijing International Film Festival served as such platform of promotion and discussion on future partnership and investment.

Discussing the successful Nigeria Movie industry as a reference for such collaboration, Nollywood box office revenues for the first quarter of 2022 indicated a steady rise despite a new landscape dominated by streaming services. According to data sources provided by Nigeria’s insightful cinema, Nollywood’s box office revenue for first quarter of 2022 trumped that of 2021 by 50 percent earning over N1.26 billion (About $4 Million USD) at the prevailing exchange rate at the box office.

Luc Bendza has been leading the discussion for possibility of African and Chinese film makers to consider collaborations in the areas of growing interest on China-Africa cultural affiliations, trending cross-cultural challenges and the future.

Prior to FOCAC, China made movies with predominant themes on Chinese KungFu sold the China martial art culture favorably to Africa in the 70’s and late 80s until the introduction of Home Movies in the early late 90s. As Africa and China make progress in economic cooperation, it continues to lose fortunes in a people-to-people cooperation that are in most cases, influenced and entrenched by cultural entertainment education programmes and activities ranging from movies, arts and other cross-cultural events.
Think about producing potential blockbusters of African themed movies shot in China or China themed movies shot in Africa with a collaboration of actors from both ends, the making of such projects will in no doubt create the much desired avenue for the promotion of a people to people oriented policy on China-Africa cooperation.
More so, China- Africa cooperation has witnessed development virtually across all sectors of society except perhaps the movie industry – Linking Africa to China and China to Africa through the Beijing International Film Festival (BJIFF) has been the dream of Luc Bendza whom has featured in many China epic movies as the African Chinese actor,  (BJIFF) happens to serve as the right platform for such exhibition and international exchange of events and ideas that will see to the development of talents, innovation and expansion of the Africa movie industry to the China market and revive the wanning China movie market in Africa.

Beijing International Film Festival (BJIFF) has served its purpose since inception 11 years ago as the right place to discuss challenges and success of the movie industry in China, explore opportunities in international exchanges of arts and culture and tell the China story to the world, its importance in boosting the economy of China could not be over emphasized in the same manner Nigeria’s

Nollywood industry has served in adding to the economy whereby it generates about $600m yearly and employs more than one million people therefore bringing such entities together for the sake of improving cultural diplomacy, investment and boosting the China-Africa cooperation is of prime necessity that should be given due consideration.

Luc Bendza’s life path is an incredible Chinese story. Born on 5th May 1969 in Koula-Moutou, Gabon, he discovered Kung Fu aged nine via the film Big Boss at a cinema in Libreville. This was a revelation. Six years later, in 1984, he set off for China where he honed his skills to excel at the art of Kung Fu. Under the teachings of Grand Master Meng Huifang, he became number one in the world in 1997 for traditional style Kung Fu. An established Chinese martial arts film actor, he currently promotes Wushu in Africa and throughout the world.

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