EXCLUSIVE: As Hollywood and the Middle Kingdom look to increase cooperation, Warner Bros this week held its first U.S.-China Exchange Program, an initiative designed to foster industry and cultural best practice sharing. The launch edition was focused on talent management and casting and featured eight China-based film execs who learned about U.S. casting practices and the latest technology, as well as meeting with local execs, agents and managers.
The program is run in partnership with SAPPRFT and the MPAA and supported by the Chinese Consulate General in Los Angeles. Kristy Carlson, SVP Casting at Warner Bros Pictures, also recently traveled to China, where she met with local casting and talent management reps.
“This exchange program provides an innovative opportunity for continued support of the longstanding relationship between Warner Bros and China,” say Gillian Zhao, EVP and MD of Warner Bros China. “This best practice sharing effort reflects Warner Bros’ ongoing commitment to fostering growth within the Chinese marketplace.”
Warners opened its Beijing office earlier this year and separately has a local joint venture, Flagship Entertainment, with China Media Capital and TVB, which it formed in 2015. Flagship has a varied roster that includes remakes of library titles such as Blended and Miss Congeniality as well as the upcoming Jason Statham starrer The Meg, about a massive prehistoric shark that resurfaces to wreak havoc along the China coast. It releases next year.
Earlier this year, the Burbank studio hosted a group from the Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business, during which participants heard from executives about WB’s businesses and engaged in an educational tour highlighting the lot’s production-focused exhibit, “Stage 48: Script to Screen.”