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Film distributors said there are also subtle differences in storytelling, especially with historical and cultural touchstones that differ among audiences.

“There are a lot of things you need to explain and tell to the Western audience (that) would be considered boring” to a Chinese audience, said Jeffrey Chan, CEO of Hong Kong-based Distribution Workshop.

Action movies aside, “you need social, historical, cultural background. Then the way you tell it to a Chinese audience and the way you tell it to a non-Chinese audience will be very different,” Chan said.

Pfardrescher added that for “a lot of Chinese films that I see there is this assumption that Americans know maybe the history or the political humor or something, but unfortunately we don’t. We don’t understand. We don’t know. So it doesn’t translate.

“The only way to do that is to make a lot longer movie to explain it all, but it would be very boring for Chinese audiences.”



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