Handbooks of Research on Contemporary China series
Edited by Michael Keane
Chapter 17: Chinese transnational cinema and the collaborative tilt toward South Korea
Transnational exchange has long characterized the ‘internationalization’ of the global film industry. Collaboration takes place among production companies, practitioners and co-investors. Stories and locations are subject to change; they can be traded off in contractual negotiations. In the past most projects occurred in the US for the simple reason that ‘Hollywood’ spelled the dream destination for industry workers and aspiring actors alike. However, with the general decline of the working environment in the US film industry since the 1990s, and the global industry’s increasing adoption of digital production and post-production methods since the early-to-mid-2000s, there has been a sharp shift of production away from Hollywood toward new centres of transnational cultural production, such as Beijing, Shanghai, Mumbai and Seoul. The focus on cultural and creative industries and the excitement about China’s media ‘going out’ (zou chuqu) is impacting not just on flows of content but on flows of expertise. China has become the new and largest media frontier where in spite of (or perhaps because of) the Communist Party’s control, one senses a dynamic ‘global experiment of modernity’ resulting from the ‘displacement and reappropriation of expertise’ (Giddens 1994: 59) from elsewhere.
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