Soft Power, Big Money: Will Qingdao Best Hollywood?

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Wanda Studios features at Long Beach Sister Cities’ Annual Luncheon Nov. 10

When the curtain rises on the world’s largest tv-movie studio in Qingdao, China, next summer, will the lights dim in Hollywood? Qingdao’s Movie Metropolis will be featured at the Nov. 10 Annual Luncheon of the Long Beach-Qingdao Association. A video of the huge new studio—and surrounding complex of hotels, apartments, and schools—will also be shown.

Michael Berry, UCLA Professor and expert on Chinese cinema and popular culture, will detail this new development in China’s burgeoning film industry—which has created questions of intellectual property, costs and competence of local staff, and especially the use of government-backed financing. Chinese tycoon Wang Jianlin, founder of the new Qingdao Movie Metropolis, figures prominently in these issues.

A sister city to Long Beach, which has its own history of movie production, Qingdao aims to produce movies using the vast range of facilities at the new Wanda Studios—including 30 soundstages and two marine tanks—covering more than 400 acres. Financial incentives have been offered to entice U.S. moviemakers to co-produce their films in Qingdao. The real prize, however, is access to the huge audience of Chinese movie-goers. But recent developments in Beijing have cast some clouds on the horizon.

Also featured will be special guests Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia, Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero, and a representative of the Chinese Consulate General of Los Angeles.

The Luncheon will be held from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. at the executive dining room of Keesal Young & Logan in downtown Long Beach; tickets are available for $40 and tables of 10 for $400. Student tickets are $25, with I.D. Purchase tickets at For questions, contact: longbeachqingdao(at)gmail(dot)com.

Said LBQA President Dr. Ken Starkman, “This luncheon will be a blockbuster—it brings together the topics of international business, culture, and something that everyone loves, movies!” The Port of Long Beach is a supporting sponsor of the event.

The Long Beach-Qingdao Association is a nationally award-winning affiliate of Sister Cities International, which aims to increase understanding and trade between the U.S. and China. The association features public programs, scholarships, and occasional visits to Qingdao and elsewhere in China. The group plans to feature a trip in 2018 to tour the new Qingdao Movie Metropolis.

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Mary Barton
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