After two months of calling for submission, another two months of initial selection, two roundtable meetings, and four jury meetings, FIRST Mart finally selected 19 film projects for the Financing Forum. FIRST Mart Open Week, which lasted for seven days of a pitch presentation workshop, a writing tutorial, an acting workshop and a producing workshop, aimed for providing project representatives with practical skills and necessary helps on their work. It was a pleasure to see their growth and changes over the course of the Open Week.
[A Place for Sale]
FIRST Financing Forum is essentially a place for sale, where the film market brings buyers and sellers closer together. The mentor for the pitch presentation workshop, Chen Jie, told the representatives that “Only accurate and effective proposals can be heard by the audience; only specific genre and topics can attract appropriate investors; only the person who can find a way to communicate and resonate with the audience can really make the cooperation successful.”
This year, FIRST Mart started a roundtable pitch for the first time, where project representatives who did not pass the first round could propose for the second time and could be reelected by representatives from our market partners. Almost all participants absorbed what they learned and made incredible progress on their projects.
[An Active Training]
Before the Open Week, we collected questions on making a film from all project representatives and previous directors. Interestingly, those young directors who were preparing their first films rarely asked theoretically complicated questions, but what they concerned more was on the practical level, where they need more helps from the experienced. For this reason, the jury and the workshop mentors continually gave out solid and detailed “know-how.”
During the roundtable, the five minutes for comments on each film project were often being extended. Rather than being a time for comments, it was more like a time for the jury to share their expertise with the participants. The contents spanned from extracting thesis statements to building characters, and even included discussions on the plausibility of some realistic details. Their meticulous attention to details subtly but continually influenced all of participants.
[A Strong Belief]
For sure, several days of workshops were not enough for solving all the problems the participants had. Beside one-on-one discussion and experience sharing with the representatives, the mentors introduced a general methodology, which might help creators with their confusions and decision in the future. The method was called “Knowing your project.”
During the Open Week, we often heard questions like these: “What do you want to say?” “What’s your standpoint as an author?” “What’s the core of your story?” “Why are your characters special?” “Where do you want to spend your budget on?” Probably more specific, “What do you want?”
Making a film is making a decision one by one. The reason for a choice should be based on the strong belief in the core concept of the story. Even though it is a hard process of creating a work, firm belief can help drive the progress further.
Meanwhile, FIRST Mart is facing the choice from the market as well. On one hand, it needs to predict what the market needs and favors; on the other hand, it tries to see the market’s reactions by bringing fresher and more audacious projects to it.
The jury for the roundtable pitch is formed by representatives from company partners that will set monetary prizes for the FIRST Mart. Li Jinghua from Alibaba Pictures, Sun Yonghuan from Enlight Media, Ma Shuang from Hengye Pictures, Zhang Yisong from Jet Tone Film Production, YueYang from MaxTimes, and Tian Qi from HeRui Pictures contributed their expertise from the industry to each project, and gave their advice from the perspectives of production, audience, censorship, etc.
During the award ceremony on July 27th, monetary prizes and nonmonetary prizes established by Forestt Studios, Image Forestt, KO Film Rental, etc. will be announced.
From July 25th to 26th, FIRST Financing Forum will present in public and have one-on-one meetings with industry guests. All of the 33 nominated film projects will be invited to Xining. Their project information will be presented in the FIRST industry brochures. Industry screening list will be announced recently as well.
Last but not least, FIRST industry guest accreditation is still open. The portal for submission will be closed on June 30th.