This is the first of its kind Special Report to support international film project development, based on existing literary materials from Birmingham.
Over the last six weeks I have been completing an internship programme with UK-China Film Collab via Virtual Internships. I came into the internship with a limited knowledge of China’s film industry and cultural norms. Therefore, through the course of the internship I have been learning about China’s relationship with film which I have found very intriguing and made me question certain aspects of the British film industry. The internship has largely consisted of me designing and completing my own individual project for UK-China Film collab in which I explore the relationship between the film industries of both the UK and China. I am extremely grateful for both Virtual Internships and UK-China Film Collab for the opportunity given to me with this internship.
My project aims to explore how adaptation works in the film industry. Firstly, how short stories can be adapted for films within the UK and then I wanted to identify the challenges that may arise when they travel to the international market, such as China.
In the first section of my project I wanted to think about how short stories can be adapted to films. To do this I have researched and found five diverse short stories, three of which are from old Birmingham newspapers and the other two are from anthologies celebrating Birmingham and Birmingham writers. I specifically chose Birmingham because that is the city I am from and the cultural output is very neglected in mainstream media. Therefore, I wanted to identify the cultural promise in my city and show the abundance of potential in these stories to be made into film. I identify the logistical issues with adapting these stories such as plots and characters and offer tweaks to make them more suitable for film.
Secondly, with these short stories selected and considered for adaptation to film within the UK, I then contemplated how these stories might fair if they were to be extorted to China. Through completing this task I was able to gain a degree of cultural sensitivity. It is important to recognise the complexities when discussing another country’s cultural norms like in the way some scenes or topics would need to be deleted in order to be released in China. Moreover, I came to realise that some of the difficulties in promoting UK films to China are much more trivial such as Chinese people not sharing the same interests and the film therefore not likely to be something that people are interested in.
If you would want to contact me about the report my email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org.
This project was supervised by Dr Hiu Man Chan, Founder & Director of UK-China Film Collab.