Can Hans Christian Andersen conquer the Chinese film market?


It is no secret that the Danish fairy tale father, Hans Christian Andersen, has fans from all over the world. He conquered our hearts with his books, and maybe he will be the key to break through the Chinese film market as well. Danish film company, Zentropa, are about to find out. In cooperation with a Chinese partner, they are planning to use the famous author, in a comedy production for the Chinese market, where H. C. Andersen is highly respected.

“True Beauty” is the current name of the movie, and it will star a Chinese actor in the lead role, and will be recorded on location in China and in Odense in Denmark, where H. C. Andersen was born.

The local municipality in Odense decided to invest 4 million Danish kroner in the movie to make sure that recognisable Odense and H. C. Andersen locations would be a natural part of the movie. Odense are also hoping that the movie will turn out to be a great advertisement for the city and will attract Chinese tourists.

Even though the movie will be produced by Danish and Chinese production companies, it will not be a co-production where actors and technical workers are from different countries and the movie is in English.

“The European audience are trained “moviegoers”, but going to the movies have only recently become a normal thing for the Chinese, says Rikke Ennis, CEO of Zentropa’s international division.

If Zentropa China’s project is successful, it could have an impact on the introduction of many more Danish and European films to the Chinese market. It is already a big step for Zentropa to have found an acknowledged Chinese partner for the “True Beauty”-movie. The ‘successful’ Chinese partner has remained secret, but according to newspaper GB Times, the Chinese partner is considered is big in China. The identity will be revealed at the press conference in December, where officials from State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT) will also be present.

For western companies who want to enter the Chinese market, it is alfa and omega to get the right Chinese partner in the pursuit of success. This does not happen overnight.

“We started back in 2012, but it takes a long time to close a deal. Everything we have heard about China has appeared to be true. If you don’t have the right partner, then you can forget about it,”  Rikke Ennis recently told the Danish daily, Jyllands-Posten.





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