02 Dec 023: dealing with censorship, ageism and climate change in China
China-based producer Sally Yeh talks about how she overcomes Chinese censorship, ageism and climate change.
Today’s guest is China-based producer Sally Yeh. We talk about the US / China divide – the effects of the current trade war on the film industry in China. Sally also discusses how she deals with censorship, ageism and climate change in China. She also shares her thoughts on what the Chinese studios are looking for.
The China-Hollywood Greenlight Podcast – Episode 023
Guest: Sally Yeh
Host: Caryn McCann
THREE KEY POINTS
- HOW TO FIND BUSINESS PARTNERS / PRODUCERS: Go to mixers, screenings and industry functions. Join WeChat groups and you’ll attract like-minded people.
- THE US / CHINA DIVIDE: Sally brought up the example of the ban on Korean talent in China. As you may recall – due to the THAAD – Terminal High Altitude Area Defense US’s military-installed this defense system on the Korean peninsula. Sally says the Korean pop culture ban has slightly lifted but it’s not clear.
- FLEXIBILITY: Sally mentioned outside the normal obstacles a producer must handle – there’s also censorship issues. And that hits’ twice. First when you apply for co-production status and the censorship committee reviews your script. And then if you are distributing your film I china, the completed film is again reviewed. You can’t predict what will pass or not. There are guidelines/rules however it’s a very grey area and you need to flexible.
- AGEISM – Sally makes a counter-argument on ageism that I hope more people adopt. People want to work with partners they have a history with. This makes a big difference in the way they collaborate. And this shared history comes with age. We all need to drop the negative bias that ageism fosters.
- CLIMATE CHANGE – not only is this a world problem. But if you have a story or a script about this – she is looking for collaborators on this important subject that affects all of us. She mentioned she will take a course on climate change and in the future teach the course to others. This is another opportunity for content creators – perhaps a documentary on teaching climate change. You can find Sally’s contact details in the show notes.
- BIO PICS – When I asked Sally what kind of projects China might be looking for – she mentioned that there might be an opportunity in biopics. It’s best to avoid certain sensitivities – for example, historical figures from times of war. But you might consider Chinese heroes from the recent past – the 80s and 90s.
Well, that’s the show. Thank you for listening. To show your support – go to iTunes, subscribe and leave a rating so other people can find this podcast. The more we work together – the more opportunities will be out there for everyone.
And for screenwriters, producers and talent agents – you can go to The China Hollywood Greenlight website to sign up for membership for my upcoming screenplay database “The China List”. This is a database that will connect Hollywood and China.
And I’ll see you at the premiere. See you soon! Yī huǐ jiàn 一会见!