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Qingdao, a City Born for Film


Located on the West Coast of the Pacific Ocean (36°N), Qingdao is an important traffic hub and port city on the eastern end of the Eurasia Land Bridge. It covers an area of 11,282 square kilometers and has a total registered population of 9.20 million. Qingdao is a national historic and cultural city, the cultural capital in East Asia and a famous international coastal tourist destination. It is hailed as the natural “Oriental Studio” thanks to its agreeable climate, diverse topography, and cityscape reflecting both Chinese and Western historic legacies.

Qingdao is a city born for film. It is unrivaled in China in terms of natural, economic, and cultural resources for filmmaking. In the last century, film and Qingdao has grown and prospered together, demonstrating an indivisible bond between the city and film. As a cradle of films in China, Qingdao was the testing ground for film screening and filmmaking since the time when the world’s film industry was just in its infancy. It has claimed a number of “firsts” in the Chinese film history. In 1900, Prince Heinrich Hotel began to show films, making it one of the earliest cinemas in China. Seemannshaus, the earliest commercial cinema in China still standing today, started to publish commercials for movie showing on newspapers in 1907. Now it has become the 1907 Movie Club, a new film landmark in Qingdao.

Qingdao is a studio without roof. In the past several decades, settings including the coastline, former residences of celebrities, landmarks, streets, and even local homes and residents, can often be seen in Chinese and foreign films. The city is also the hometown of many world-famous film and TV stars including Fan Bingbing. Qingdao No.39 Middle School alone has graduated over 300 stars and actors. Qingdao is an open film museum with ubiquitous influence of films on the city’s soul and people’s lives. There are nearly 60 cinemas in the city which attract more than 13 million viewers per year. Over 70,000 free showings are organized in city squares, rural communities, schools and welfare institutions every year, especially for rural residents and middle and primary school students. A series of thematic public activities are also held including City and Film Ambassador Selection and University Student Micro-film Contest. There are a number of specialized film and TV performance education institutions including the Qingdao Creative Media College of Beijing Film Academy, and Qingdao School of Arts, Shanghai Academy. Qingdao is the permanent venue for the biennial ceremony of China Film Society of Performing Art Award, nicknamed Golden Phoenix Award. Film is deeply weaved in the social fabric of Qingdao.

In 2013, with the objective of building a city of culture, Qingdao took the cultural industry as the strategic pivot for the improvement of city functions and focused on building “the City of Film and TV” as a cultural brand of the city. The target was to create an enabling climate for creation, ignite the enthusiasm of the public for innovation, and make full use of the role of culture in urban sustainability, developing Qingdao into a modern city of marine culture through comprehensive integration of culture into social and economic development.

Qingdao has taken the initiative to keep up with international standards and introduced a series of policies such as the Development Plan for High-end Film, TV and Cultural Industry in Qingdao (2014-2020) and Opinions on Promoting the Development of Film and TV Industry. A film and TV industrial development fund of 5 billion yuan has been set up to provide better-targeted support to the industry and attract more filmmaking institutions from across the world to Qingdao.

By taking advantage of the city’s comprehensive strengths, and seizing the opportunity presented by the construction of the West Coast New Area, Qingdao is exploring a new development model integrating films with urban construction, culture, technology, education and tourism. In this way, optimal conditions are provided for the concentration of cultural sectors with the film at the core. A future-oriented capital of film and TV is taking shape. Qingdao (National) Film Trading Center and Film & TV Production Service Center have been set up. 112 domestic and foreign film and TV companies including Wanda Pictures and Wuzhou Film Distribution have come to the Lingshan Bay Film and Television Cultural Industrial Park, forming a huge industrial chain here. In 2016, the first 15 film studios as the first phase project of the Qingdao Oriental Movie Metropolis have been put into operation; the main structure of 15 more film studios as the second phase have been completed. Eight movies including Pacific Rim 2 have been shot here and other 5 movies including Crazy Alien are being shot right now. When the whole project is completed and put into operation, it is anticipated that about 100 films and TV works will be produced here per year. Chinese director Zhang Yimou comments that Qingdao has very good conditions to build the largest shooting base in China,

Qingdao highly values international film and TV cooperation and exchanges. Events like New Zealand Film Week, Indian Film Week, Sino-French Film Week, and German Film Week have been held over the years. Institutions like 1907 Movie Club and Qingdao Literature Center are becoming the paradise for movie fans and professionals as they hold an increasing number of activities to appreciate excellent Chinese and foreign films and to promote exchanges among filmmakers. In 2016, Qingdao signed cooperation MOU with Bradford, a UCCN City of Film. In June this year, Qingdao invited Cities of Films from around the world to the City of Film Summit it hosted and the Qingdao Declaration which is aimed at promoting cooperation in film and other creative sectors was jointly announced at the summit.

Qingdao looks forward to film cooperation with cities from across the globe so as to embrace all cultures and make contribution to synergistic development of film, the universal language of the world.

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