Chicago Tribune: Chinese reach out to U.S. screenwriters with competition

LOS ANGELES ( – China’s film industry is reaching out to U.S. screenwriters with a first-of-its-kind competition designed to foster artistic collaboration between China and the U.S.

On behalf of the Cultural Assets Office of the Beijing municipal government, director Huiguang Zhang on Monday will announce the launch of the 2013 Beijing International Screenwriting Competition. Open to U.S.-based contestants of all nationalities, the competition is asking writers to submit both short film and feature film screenplays centered on Beijing and its multifaceted culture.

Zhang will serve as president of the competition, and film producer Kevin Niu will serve as chairman. Honorary competition presidents will include vice-mayor of Beijing Wei Lu and two-time Academy Award-winning director Mark Harris. Harris and producer Tracey Trench (“Ever After”), a consultant for Oriental DreamWorks, will serve as the competition’s grand judges.

“I am thrilled that the Beijing International Screenwriting Competition is taking place at this time in history,” said Ms. Huiguang Zhang. “The city and people of Beijing are excited to begin a new era of creative and cultural collaboration with the U.S.”

With no entrance fee, the competition encourages professional writers, students, and the general public alike to submit feature film proposals. The competition for short film screenplays is open to U.S. students only. In keeping with the competition’s “Tale of Beijing” theme, all film submissions must prominently feature Beijing as a location, conveying in some way its romance, mystery, and cultural richness.

“This competition is one of the first established routes for U.S. filmmakers to obtain direct access to the Chinese market,” said competition chairman Niu. “It will serve as a model for future cultural collaboration between the U.S. and China.

Proposals for the first round of the feature film competition are due April 7, and short film screenplays are due April 20. The top finalists for each will be announced in May. In addition to international recognition and cash prizes totaling more than $100,000, all of the finalists will receive all-expense paid trips to Beijing in June where they will have the opportunity to meet with Chinese investors. Additionally, up to seven short film grand prize winners will receive financing for the production of their films.

The competition is sponsored by the Beijing International Creative Industry Corp. Other partners include LeTV and Harvardwood. For more information on the 2013 Beijing International Screenwriting Competition, please visit