MPAA chairman and CEO Chris Dodd and News Corp. boss Rupert Murdoch both made appearances at the Shanghai International Film Festival, which kicked off over the weekend. And both took different approaches to a mostly contentious relationship between the host country and Hollywood. Dodd gave a keynote speech in front of a number of government officials and Chinese film industry leaders at the fest’s co-production forum, praising China’s strides and mostly playing nice in his official remarks, saying things like, “All the ingredients are there for China’s film industry to become a major player on the world stage, just as China has always been a major player on the world cultural stage.” On the sidelines he was slightly more pointed about what Hollywood sees as serious problems with China — piracy and a restriction on foreign studios distributing movies there — but there was nothing in his speech, for example, about China recently ignoring a WTO-imposed deadline to open its borders to foreign-distributed fare. Dodd’s explanation when pressed by the Associated Press: “I will not ignore the concerns that Hollywood has raised for years, but I will not fail as well to acknowledge and indeed celebrate, if you will, the progress we have made.” He added, “I’ve been around long enough to know that … if I’m going to have a productive conversation with you about something, I’m not going to start off by punching you in the nose.” Meanwhile, Murdoch during a panel discussion decided to take a jab, urging China to comply with the WTO’s wishes and saying the potential for China’s exhibition industry “has not been fully realized because the market remains so restricted.”
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