45 episodes

Your source for insight into China's culture industry: Listen to those creating and producing content in the world's second-biggest cultural market. Hosted by Aladin Farré, and co-produced by SupChina.

Middle earth - China's cultural industry podcast SupChina

    • TV & Film

Your source for insight into China's culture industry: Listen to those creating and producing content in the world's second-biggest cultural market. Hosted by Aladin Farré, and co-produced by SupChina.

    #44 Does China still make indie films?

    #44 Does China still make indie films?

    Long gone are the days when Chinese film directors could shoot their films and win awards abroad without complications back home. But even with stricter regulations regarding the shooting and distribution of films in China, some have not stopped creating unique stories for the big screen. Joining Aladin Farré, Cao Liuying (co-founder of Midnight Blur Films), Karin Chien (film producer and distributor, dGenerate Films), and Jenny Wu (indie filmmaker and curator) share their insights into the current scene of low-budget films and art-house movies coming from China.

    Middle Earth is made by China Compass Productions. If you have a China-themed cultural project, please get in touch!

    With thanks to Brenden Gonsalves for graphic design and Sean Calvo for music support.

    Recommendations: 

    An Elephant Sitting Still 大象席地而坐 (2017)

    Blind Massage 推拿 (2014) 

    Outcry and Whisper 呐喊与低语 (2020)

    Answers to the quiz:

    According to China Daily, only 1.5% of screen time is given to indie films in their first screening week. 

    The China Independent Film Festival was shut down permanently in 2020 after 14 iterations.

    The film director who goes by the surname Ceng (who used to be a farmer and a migrant worker) was arrested on the evening of his film premiere in 2016. He was not arrested for the content of the film, but because he was part of a gang fight in Chongqing in 2000 and had eluded the police for 16 years.

    • 54 min
    #43 Building Clockenflap, Hong Kong’s biggest music festival

    #43 Building Clockenflap, Hong Kong’s biggest music festival

    Meet Justin Sweeting, Hong Kong’s ultimate party organizer. Over the last decade, he has elevated Hong Kong’s music scene as a co-founder of the Clockenflap music and arts festival. Clockenflap has come a long way from its humble beginnings back in 2008 to become the city’s biggest festival, with over 30,000 participants per day during peak hours. Justin explains how Hong Kong, his hometown, became a hub for music and examines the rise of Asia as a market in the music industry.

    The interview was conducted by Philipp Grefer for the 2020 WISE festival, a media partner with Middle Earth. 

    Middle Earth is made by China Compass Productions. If you have a China-themed cultural project, please get in touch!

    With thanks to Brenden Gonsalves for graphic design and Sean Calvo for music support.

    Recommendation: 

    The Korean music festival Zandari Festa.

    • 36 min
    #42 China's board game industry

    #42 China's board game industry

    China’s card and board games market size was valued at $580 million in 2018, and is projected to reach $1.6 billion by 2025. Minlu Chen, co-founder and chief marketing officer of Gstone Games, Hao Zhang, founder of Labyrinth Culture, and Ired Zhu, marketing director at Asmodee China, are passionate gamers trying to develop this market. They explain to Aladin Farré the strengths and weaknesses of China’s market, how to protect your intellectual property, and recent trends in the industry. 

    Middle Earth is made by China Compass Productions. If you have a China-themed cultural project, please get in touch!

    With thanks to Brenden Gonsalves for graphic design and Sean Calvo for music support.

    Recommendations: 

    The Chinese game Film Centenary 电影百年

    The Chinese game Garbage Classification 分了吧!

    The localized game Dobble China 嗒宝中国版

    Answers to the quiz:

    It is the game Liubo 六博 whose rules are forgotten that was found in a Chinese tomb.

    Bang! is the Italian game that got copied by the popular Legends of the Three Kingdoms 三国杀

    It was the character Fang Siqi, coming from a popular novel, that was put into an erotic card game even though it is based on a true story and tells the story of a student being harassed by her teacher.

    • 45 min
    #41 Light art in China

    #41 Light art in China

    Leading the world in the LED market, it was only natural for China to join the fun of light art  (also known as luminism) that is growing around the world. Joining Aladin Farré, art curator and co-founder of Kaleidoscale Marcom, Drue Chiam shares her experience on how this market has developed over the years she was in China, talent procurement, how to protect your IP and, of course, how COVID-19 impacted an art form that usually happens outdoor with huge crowds.

    Middle Earth is made by China Compass Productions. If you have a China-themed cultural project, please get in touch!

    With thanks to Brenden Gonsalves for graphic design and Sean Calvo for music support.

    Recommendation:The Festival of Lights in Lyon (France)

    • 42 min
    #40 The ‘Mulan’ debacle

    #40 The ‘Mulan’ debacle

    “If Mulan doesn’t work in China, we have a problem,” said Alan Horn, the co-chairman of Walt Disney Studios, to the Hollywood Reporter. Unfortunately, the film had a lot of issues: inaccurate storytelling, cultural appropriation, and political scandals, not to mention a poor showing at the box office. Joining Aladin Farré are film editor Hank Liu and South China Morning Post journalist Elaine Yau to explain what hurdles the movie faced and how Mulan could be a lesson for film studios hoping to tell Chinese stories for international audiences. 

    Middle Earth is made by China Compass Productions. If you have a China-themed cultural project, please get in touch!

    With thanks to Brenden Gonsalves for graphic design and Sean Calvo for music support.

    Recommendations: 

    The Chinese animation film Ne Zha 哪吒 (2019).

    The U.S. animation film Coco (2017).

    Answers to the quiz:

    Mulan fought in the Northern Wei army.

    At least 12 feature films were made out of Mulan’s story. 

    Wēn Míngnà 溫明娜, who voiced Mulan in 1998, is the actor doing a cameo in the 2020 remake.

    • 38 min
    #39 Star power in China

    #39 Star power in China

    China’s entertainment industry has undergone staggering changes over the past two decades. The content, the ways it's delivered, and even the stars themselves are taking shape in a manner that is unique to China and reflects a new type of user — one who has come of age in the digital era. Provincial governments partner with stars to sell goods as arbitrary as farm equipment. Kim Kardashian has collaborated with famous livestreamers to sell perfume. 

    Joining Aladin Farré on the Middle Earth podcast are Kevin Feng (talent agent and producer), Allison Jiang (cultural writer at RADII), and Marian Mationg (writer at DramaPanda). They share their views on how the budding Chinese entertainment industry is being shaped by technology and the internet; how Chinese dramas, songs, and TV are received around the world; the power of Chinese fandom; and more. 

    Middle Earth is made by China Compass Productions. If you have a China-themed cultural project, please get in touch!

    With thanks to Brenden Gonsalves for graphic design and Sean Calvo for music support.

    Sponsors: 

    Win a free month of OVID.tv, which distributes exclusive Chinese films, by sharing your favorite Middle Earth episode on social media. Send Aladin a screenshot on Twitter for a chance to win! 

    Thank you to 247tickets for offering vouchers to the quiz winner.

    Recommendations: 

    Mark Chao (Zhào Yòutíng 趙又廷), a Taiwanese-Canadian actor and model.

    Jackson Wang (Wáng Jiā’ěr 王嘉尔), a Hong Kong rapper, singer, and dancer.

    Huáng Bó 黄渤, a Chinese actor and singer.  

    Answers to the quiz:

    Ruǎn Língyù 阮玲玉 is a Chinese star who killed herself in 1936.

    Saving Mr. Wu (2015) is the Chinese film based on the Chinese actor Wú Ruòfǔ’s 吴若甫 real abduction in 2004.

    Jackie Chan’s son was arrested for drug use while having an out-of-wedlock daughter.

    A 2018 scandal involving actress Fàn Bīngbīng’s 范冰冰 “fake” contracts from a film project were worth $1.6 million.

    • 54 min

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