In this article, I aim to expand our understanding of the transnational production and
increasing international appeal of contemporary Chinese cinema in 2012 and 2013; my
viewpoint is from the outside looking in. To achieve this aim, I analyze two key
developments that are contributing to the rapidly shifting shape and style of the Chinese film industry: 1) increasing post-production collaborations with film industry practitioners and
firms from South Korea – an important trading partner for China; and 2) the popular reception of Chinese films on the international film festival circuit, in particular the responses of a diverse group of filmmakers, creative practitioners, and foreign critics at the Busan International Film Festival (hereafter BIFF), which celebrated its 18th year in 2013. Since the 17th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) began debating the Twelfth Five-Year Guideline in October 2010 at its fifth plenary session, the film industry in China has become more internationalized than ever before – to the point where we are witnessing the rise of a complex blend of local and foreign production, post-production and reception elements that is contributing to a newfound maturity for the industry. Gradually, these developments have been intriguing and exciting audiences at home and abroad, which in turn has added weight to the potential of Chinese “soft power” (ruan shili) – the universal appeal and appreciation of media products made in China and the charismatic cultural representations that are given life in visually stunning and emotionally gripping stories.