Southwestern China city Chongqing is set to invest RMB 15B ($2.17B) to build a film and television industry development including studio space, tourist town, theme park, training center and offices. State news agency, Xinhua, reports the park will be based in the mountainous Wulong County (whose Wulong Karst National Park is famous for having been a location in Transformers: Age Of Extinction and then suing producers because the park’s logo was not shown on screen). Construction is due to begin early next year with partners from “about a dozen foreign countries” participating in operation, per Xinhua. Project manager Tan Nianshen said the industry park will boost cooperation between Chinese and foreign film enterprises and incorporate online entertainment, gaming, virtual reality and augmented reality technologies. The news comes as China aims to become an international shooting destination; Wanda recently touted a 40% enticement for productions filming at its Qingdao Movie Metropolis which is due to open in August 2018.
France’s Orange Studio has entered a strategic distribution deal with UGC’s UGC Images. Beginning next year, they will together release a minimum of five high-profile films under the Orange Studio Distribution label. The first titles are Jonathan Teplitzky’s Churchill with Brian Cox and Miranda Richardson, and Rebel In The Rye from Danny Strong and starring Kevin Spacey and Nicholas Hoult. The partners are also eyeing future co-productions of French films and joint acquisitions on foreign titles. Orange Studio is a subsidiary of diversified French telco giant Orange and began co-producing and acquiring movies in 2007. It’s participated in such titles as The Artist and Le Petit Prince. French major UGC owns UGC Images which produces and distributes popular comedies like smash hit Qu’Est-Ce Qu’On A Fait Au Bon Dieu?! and auteur pics including Todd Haynes’ Carol and Jacques Audiard’s Palme d’Or winner Dheepan.
Germany’s Foreign Language Oscar entry, Toni Erdmann, picked up the European Parliament LUX Prize last week. Maren Ade’s feature was a hit in Cannes and leads the European Film Awards nominations. The story of a father and daughter trying to reconnect beat out Tunisia’s As I Open My Eyes by Leyla Bouzid and Switzerland’s Oscar hopeful My Life As A Courgette by Claude Barras. The LUX Prize, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary, promotes cultural and linguistic diversity, and has two specific objectives: to boost the circulation of European films and to spread the debate on major issues faced by today’s society. The nominees are translated into all 24 EU languages, while the winner is further promoted and adapted for the visually and hearing-impaired.