U.S.-China Media: Three Perspectives & Lang LangVIEW EVENT DETAILS
U.S.-Asia Entertainment Summit
Join Asia Society Southern California for three fireside chats with three leading Chinese and U.S. entertainment executives as they share their insights into the current state of the China and U.S. media industries. Long-time U.S.-China entertainment industry veteran Ellen Eliasoph will speak with Manatt Partner and Entertainment Group Leader Lindsay Conner to give insights into the past 25 years of the U.S.-China entertainment industry as well as what the future may hold. Beijing Culture's President of Motion Pictures Entertainment Miao Zhang and Variety’s Asia Editor Patrick Frater take a deep dive into the shifts occurring within China’s entertainment industry including film and TV production, development, and streaming. They’ll evaluate the long-term effects of the pandemic on the industry and the significance of China possessing the world’s largest functioning box office market. Skydance Media President and CEO Jesse Sisgold and Paul Hastings Partner and Asia and Europe Media & Entertainment Chair Stephen Saltzman will consider the role of strategic partnerships in cross-border media investments, including Skydance’s partnership with Tencent. The session will conclude with remarks and a performance by 2020 Entertainment Game Changer and world-renowned pianist Lang Lang!
Ellen R. Eliasoph is a veteran film executive and producer who has spent the last 25 years building bridges among China’s film industry, Hollywood and the global film market. After setting up Warner Bros.’ Beijing office in 1994 she imported The Fugitive to China as the first Hollywood revenue-sharing film. During her long tenure at WB China, she supervised the China releases of the Matrix and Harry Potter series and other WB blockbusters, and served as production executive on its Chinese films and co-productions, including Johnnie To’s Turn Left, Turn Right; The Painted Veil, which starred Edward Norton and Naomi Watts; and then-upstart director Ning Hao’s Crazy Stone and Crazy Racer.
In recent years, Eliasoph has focused primarily on production, serving as CEO of Village Roadshow Pictures Asia and its successor entity Perfect Village. Films she has produced include Stephen Chow's blockbuster Journey to the West (2013); Larry Yang’s award-winning Mountain Cry (2015); Zhang Yimou’s globally celebrated Shadow (2018); and Ms. Cao Jinling’s Anima, which will premiere in competition at the 2020 Cairo International Film Festival.
In September 2020, Eliasoph joined leading Chinese director/producer Ning Hao (No Man’s Land; Dying to Survive; Me and My Hometown) as his lead producer, thereby reuniting with Ning after having helped launch his career when she was leading WB in China.
Lindsay Conner is the partner and leader of Manatt’s entertainment and media practice. He has served as chief outside entertainment counsel for major film studios and television networks, global telecommunications companies, film and television financiers, production and distribution companies, and digital media companies, as well as financial institutions and private equity funds. Conner’s clientele spans the globe, from North America to Asia, Europe and Latin America. His recent highlights include representation of: China’s Perfect World Pictures in its $500 million, 50-film co-finance deal with Universal Pictures, and its $250 million credit facility with JPMorgan and East West Bank; and Huayi Brothers Media Corp., China’s largest privately-held film company, in an 18-film, three year co-finance and distribution agreement with the Hollywood studio STX.
Miao Zhang is a seasoned film producer and distributor. Zhang is President of Beijing Culture's Motion Pictures Entertainment, the sector he founded in 2016. At Beijing Culture, Zhang built a comprehensive film entertainment team and full-featured ecosystem comprised of four major departments performing film financing & production, marketing, distribution and data service. Previously, Zhang served as Executive Director of Marketing & Distribution at Columbia Pictures and Sony Pictures Entertainment in China.
Throughout his career, Zhang has imported, distributed and marketed dozens of international films, such as the Bond franchise and the first marvel franchise film Spider-man. Over the past five years, Zhang has collaborated with top talents in the Chinese film industry in order to produce and distribute many influential films such as Wolf Warrior 2, The Wandering Earth, My People My Homeland, Dying to Survive, and A Cool Fish. Notably, Wolf Warrior 2 is the all-time top-grossing film in China; The Wandering Earth is credited with launching a new era in Chinese science fiction film; and his latest film as producer and distributor, My People My Homeland, has grossed over 2.8 billion RMB (US$420 million) since its opening on October 1, 2020.
Zhang has received a wide range of recognitions within the Chinese film industry for his sharp artistic vision and acute commercial sense. He is the youngest and most successful “Ten Billion Box-Office” producer and distributor in the past 5 years.
Patrick Frater has more than 20 years of experience writing about and analyzing the international film industry, with publications including Variety, Screen International and The Hollywood Reporter. He was Asia editor of Variety between 2005 and 2009 and re-joined the publication in July 2013. In 2010, he co-founded regional film trade publication Film Business Asia and consultancy firm F Media. Based in Hong Kong, Frater travels widely within the Asia-Pacific region and is a regular radio pundit, conference host and public speaker.
Jesse Sisgold is the President and Chief Operating Officer of Skydance Media. Jesse Sisgold helps to set and execute the overall strategy and growth plan for the company, while managing key operations across all units. He also oversees animation production, business and legal affairs, corporate development, human resources, interactive entertainment, international distribution and co-productions, and television production for the company, and manages relationships across all distribution and co-financing partners.
In 2020, Sisgold played a key role in the formation of Skydance Animation Madrid following the acquisition of Ilion Animation Studios, creating one studio across two continents with the expanded creative capability, scale and leverage to deliver on the studio’s goal of becoming an industry-leading producer of high-end animated films and television series. That same year, Sisgold was instrumental in raising $275 million of equity capital and forming strategic partnerships with Redbird Capital and CJ ENM. The partnership with CJ ENM grows Skydance’s global television business and provides a foothold in the booming South Korean entertainment market. In 2018, Sisgold raised $100 million of equity capital and formed a broad strategic partnership with Tencent Holdings to bolster Skydance’s footprint in China for its film and interactive divisions. In 2017, he facilitated a multi-year renewal of Skydance’s first-look production and global distribution deal with Paramount. And in 2016, Sisgold took a leadership role in Skydance’s first acquisition – of game developer The Workshop Entertainment – to form Skydance Interactive, as well as in securing a $700 million recapitalization to enable continued growth and expansion.
Sisgold has been honored in Variety’s Dealmakers Impact Report each of the last six years. He is a member of the Television Academy and the Paley Media Council. He also serves as a board member of UCLA’s Institute of Environment and Sustainability, Conservation International’s Global Leadership Council, and Angels at Risk.
Stephen L. Saltzman has broad experience in domestic and international transactions in the entertainment industry. Named by Variety and The Hollywood Reporter as one of the entertainment industry’s top lawyers, he represents U.S., European, and Asian producers, production companies, studios, distribution companies, broadcasters, digital media companies, banks, film funds, directors and talent. Saltzman concentrates on innovative and complex international co-production and co-financing transactions. Fluent in German and Spanish, he uses his language skills and in-depth knowledge of bothU.S. and non-U.S.-based film and television industries in representing the interests of international companies and individuals in Hollywood, as well as to participate as a featured speaker and panelist in seminars and symposiums in the U.S., Europe and Asia.
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