Although many Holly- and Bollywood scenes are shot in Switzerland, until now the country’s efforts to promote itself haven’t been anything to sing and dance about. The new head of Film Location Switzerland aims to professionalise the sector to attract more producers...
As the second largest economy in the world, China has been working to improve its cultural soft power. Last week, a consortium of Chinese companies agreed to set up a joint venture with the US-based DreamWorks Animation, with agendas to make a sequel of blockbuster movie Kung Fu Panda 3 later this year.
Without the sex, gore and contemporary politics Beijing's censors deplore, animation is family-oriented and easily redubbed, making it safe and both importable and exportable, and thus likely to lead the charge in a trans-Pacific race for soft power – one that Hollywood's currently leading.
The WikiLeaks cables show that governments really do think along these strategic lines about the entertainment industry. They call it soft power. Let's hope that they don't forget that someone – Hollywood, Bollywood, or Chinese – is supposed to be making the next generation of classic films at the same time.
For some industry insiders, the trio personify a growing partnership between Beijing’s aspirations to export what it calls “soft power” – a sugarcoated version of China and its myriad social problems – to the West and Hollywood producers, who are bending over backwards to get a piece of the world’s fastest growing film market.
The dominance of western brands in China has long been a sore spot for the country's leaders. You can't walk through a Chinese commercial district without bumping into an Apple or Prada store occupying the city's finest prime real estate.
The Chinese government, determined to build the country’s soft power by projecting a better image abroad through culture and to maintain control at home through censorship, is strongly supporting the local industry and restricting foreign rivals.
The problem is not with the entertainment industry per se – Hollywood is one of America’s greatest exports to the world, a form of soft power as well as storytelling that can inspire hearts and minds.