The province has given $50,000 to the Whistler Film Festival Society (WFFS) to support its co-production program with the Chinese film industry.
The Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development has invested the funds in the China Canada Gateway for Film (CCGFF), a partnership between Telefilm Canada, the China Film Group and the WFFS.
Jane Milner, WFFS's director of development, says the money is "a good chunk of the financing that we need to put the platform on for China."
"Everybody wants to do business with China but it takes years to figure it out - just years and years. We've got it nailed now. The China Film Group has put their stamp of approval on it and we've figured it out. I'm thrilled to pieces," Milner said.
Milner said the CCGFF needs between $150,000 and $200,000 to fund the Canada-China Script Competition, its first program under the partnership. A call for submissions from Canadian writers will be made this summer and 12 finalists will pitch their scripts to three Chinese film companies at the 2012 Whistler Summit, Whistler Film Festival's industry conference. The winning script will then be made into a film.
"What they want is a romantic comedy that makes you cry or an action thriller or some really nice commercial genre films," Milner said, adding that Chinese filmmakers are looking for Canadian talent to help them make films that will appeal to an international audience.
The CCGFF is the culmination of two-and-a-half-years worth of work by Milner and the WFFS to develop a relationship with Chinese filmmakers. B.C. is the first province to offer financial support and the WFFS expects Ontario and Quebec to offer support by the end of May.