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Faculty Successes

After breaking overseas copyright pre-sale records in Cannes and Toronto, Animated film Foodiverse by Associate Professor Chen Liaoyu from Animation School won the favorability of overseas film distributors at the American Film Market (AFM) held in Los Angles, and the presale performance was much satisfactory. Foodiverse released an international trailer that demonstrated a parallel world outlook and character images, as well as leading posters of Chinese style and with a sense of science and technology, and became one of the most interested animated films on American film market.

Foodiverse international version poster

Recently, the English language Chinese film industry business magazine "The Chinese Film Market" published an exclusive interview of Chen Liaoyu, director of animated film Foodiverse, revealed the inspiration, role setting and other production details in creation, also disclosed a number of original film design drawings. Let's take a look.

Design Drawings of Foodiverse

Chen Liao Yu, director of Foodiverse, is an associate professor and master tutor from the Animation School of Beijing Film Academy and director of the Animation Art faculty, Vice President of China Animation Research Institute and judge of a number of domestic animation tournaments. In the interview with "The Chinese Film Market", Chen Liao Yu said, the creative inspiration of Foodiverse was originally formed at a dinner party in 1990's, creation of the story began in 2006, and the initial version only had a pasta role. In 2007, Chen Liaoyu team finished the first version of the complete screenplay, and set up the project, but then, the domestic animation film investment and market environment were not mature, and it was difficult to materialize the project, but he never stopped preparing for it.

According to the current market and the audience's appreciation level of the film, the production level of the animated films changes, Chen Liaoyu redesigns the art style, character modeling, and the main line of the story, so the story he has been trying to tell becomes the present Foodiverse, the background expands to the whole parallel universe, compared to the previous stage of design, the animated movie emphasizes a much grander cosmology.

From a concept of ten years ago to the adventure of a bun and a dumpling presented in the current version of Foodiverse, Chen Liaoyu described the evolution and advancement of the story structure. The priority of a film is to establish correct values. For example, when we discuss the contradictions between these food roles, contradictions over healthy food, western or eastern food, modern or traditional food are untenable, because all food has a value to exist even they are different in appearance, taste, flavor and processing. Food is comparable to people. Everyone is unique and we all have the same value, but the value of survival is the same, and the right to happiness is equal. On the contrary we can find a contradiction, that is, there is only one measurement standard for success, rightness and perfection. There is a contradiction between the concept of standards and the tolerance of diversity, which is understood and recognized by all the people in the world.

It is understood that Foodiverse has two protagonists, the dumpling needed coin is actually a character that describes how a person recognizes and accepts herself, when a coin is put into her brain, some people think she is different from other people. The difference brings more troubles than joys, so she became unwilling to accept herself, and would like to change herself; Dundun, the leading male character has a peaceful mind - they do not preach or have a big dream, they believe that there is no free lunch. The bun is a character that can accept his ego; he never complains and becomes a contrastive character of the dumpling.

For Chen Liaoyu, the core of the animated film is to be yourself, he also talks about his views on the current Chinese animated film market: "from the point of view of creation, in a short term, we will be very concerned about the box office billions, in fact, from the industry point of view, I pay more attention to the fact whether an animated film has a duplicable model, whether there is a positive growth possibility. If the success of the film achieves a transformation, the film industry in China has entered a new stage of development, but at least now China's animation directors have begun to build some confidence to establish their own creative language and style.

In fact, Foodiverse has since the Berlin Film Festival in 2016 begun to try overseas distribution, after market promotion on Cannes, Toronto, AFM and other international film festivals, and it once again comes to Berlin, more materials exposed also gives copyright purchasers a greater confidence. "We have to distribute our film overseas. From the perspective of return on investment, animated films are highly risky in China's domestic market, so they have to try overseas distributions or postponement, or derivatives and find a balanced program from a perspective of investment." said Chang Hongsong, Chairman of PHENOMFILMS.

Fortunately, by virtue of the unique theme advantages and setting of characters with traditional Chinse elements as well as sophisticated production, the animated film has been widely recognized by and popular in overseas markets. The film has broken the overseas sales record of Chinse animated films. Many film practitioners estimate that this movie may be the best Chinese animation this year. "Although the growth rate of Chinese film box office has just experienced a Waterloo, namely, a sharp fall from 48.69% in 2015 to 3.29% in 2016. However, the animated film has ushered in the second rapid growth from a box office of 4.5 billion yuan in 2015 to 7.9 billion yuan in 2016, or an increase of up to 176%, the proportion of animated movies throughout the Chinese film market is showing a rising trend. Foodiverse which has achieved a great popularity before launch is extremely rare, and it is very encouraging news. According to information conveyed, it may be the best animated film of China this year".

It is reported that Foodiverse is in post-production and will be launched in Mainland China in 2017.

Hu Qiang
Zhi Hongwei
Qian Jun
Professor Xie Fei, Department of Directing of our school, …