Beijing goes Hollywood with screenplay competition for Americans

“Two great competitions! You could win and expense paid week in Beijing and a chance at a $15,000 Grand Prize. Or you could see your short film produced. More than 100 great prizes in all. No entry fee. Don’t miss out.”

And so begins China’s determined foray into showbiz.

On Monday, the Cultural Assets Office of the Beijing Municipal Government announced the 2013 Beijing International Screenwriting Competition, “open to US-based contestants of all nationalities.” The state-run office only wants material centered on Beijing, however, and cheerfully frames the competition as a “groundbreaking initiative,” among other things.

And content? Some things are not lost in the translation. Like fantasy. Among Western-made movies, “Avatar” was the top draw in China, earning $221 million, followed by “Transformers: Dark of the Moon,” which pulled in $174 million.

“This competition is one of the first established routes for U.S. filmmakers to obtain direct access to the Chinese market,” says contest chairman Kevin Niu. “It will serve as a model for future cultural collaboration between the U.S. and China – one that bridges the gap between our two cultures.”

China, incidentally, is the world’s second largest film market, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Proposals for the first round of the feature film competition are due April 7th, and short film screenplays are due April 20th. Finalists will be announced in May. Winners will journey to China in June.

See the details here: