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Inside China's booming online film industry

Friday, January 06, 2017 - 01:43

Away from the censors, China's booming internet film industry lets new directors push the boundaries online. Samantha Vadas reports.

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These zombies would have been destined for the big screen, but the hungry Chinese online market has got this pack of living dead headed for the web. In the past two years, online films have boomed in China leapfrogging the number produced for the cinema and whetting the appetites of investors - with the promise of multi-million dollar returns. That's good news for first time film directors like 27-year-old Shen Chenyan who - with a cast and crew of more than 100 - has tapped into the rapidly growing market. (SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) ZOMBIE ERA DIRECTOR SHEN CHENYAN SAYING: "I decided to leave cinematography for a bit and try and do my own thing. The quality and quantity of online movies are going up so it's a great opportunity to get creative and do your own thing. For me, it's all about becoming a film director." That could be a lot closer thanks to online films, which aren't weighed down in China by the same heavy restrictions as the traditional movie business - yet. Beijing is known for it's hard-line on censorship and tends to squeeze out ideas that the government doesn't like. For now, online film makers are able to dodge strict application processes, although regulators are starting to catch up. In November around 60 films were pulled from the web in China. Though not everyone thinks that's all bad. Producer, Liu Yongqi says it's a sign of how far online movies have come. (SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) 30 DAYS TO CULTIVATE LOVE PRODUCER LIU YONGQI SAYING: "The fact that it's got their attention proves that online movies have status in the film market, they're maturing and growing day by day, and that's a good thing." But what happens when it becomes too much of a good thing? If you ask the best in the biz - they say they're prepared to dance with handcuffs.

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Inside China's booming online film industry

Friday, January 06, 2017 - 01:43