In an almost "weird that it didn't happen sooner" kind of way, Chinese state media reports that two Chinese ministries will join together to help develop and support burgeoning animators and game developers.
Economic Daily, a state-funded paper in China, reports that the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Finance have set up a framework to develop and support talent in the Chinese animation and video game industries. The goal is supposedly to urge domestic content creators to create original, high quality, creative and most of all "healthy" content. The new collaboration will be aided by the Beijing Animation and Game Industry Alliance and China's answer to Kickstarter, Zhongchou.cn.
The Ministry collaboration will be broken down into three phases. The first is to collect products, creations and works created by domestic content producers. The second is to go through and select the best works from the collected. The final phase is to raise and develop the creator, team, or teams of the works selected from phase 2. This new ministry collaboration sounds a lot like an art incubator or a start-up contest where winners get funding.
To determine the first wave of "talent" that will receive government funding and support, the ministries will hold open submissions of animation and game works. After the submission phase, "industry experts" will weed out the submissions to about 200, then the ministries will select 30 to directly fund and cultivate.
While this all might sound good and dandy, there are some points of worry. In a way, this is another way that China (and most countries) creates and curates its own cultural narrative. Applicants that hope to receive funding must be creating content that is "healthy".
China determines what is healthy for China. Currently, movies and television shows are censored or removed from broadcast. Video games also face the chopping block. Currently there are over 40 games that have been banned from sale. Will this move to promote and cultivate domestic talent be another move to strengthen domestic cultural products? Will the allure of guaranteed state funding be so strong that folks already releasing awesome projects suddenly turn and produce state approved work?
Picture: Krzysztof Stepien