Introducing Cinefex China

by Don Shay

Cinefex China signing board

Cinefex China launches! From left, Dexter China CEO Jooick Lee, Cinefex U.S. attendees Don and Estelle Shay, director/producer Jacob Cheung, visual effects Oscar-winner John Bruno, Yong Ma, executive editor of Cinefex China, Younghwa Kim, director and CEO of Dexter Studios.

To much of the world, I suppose, the big news out of China last week was the announcement that Beijing has been awarded the 2022 Winter Olympics, a first in that no other city has ever hosted both winter and summer games. A significant milestone, to be sure. But the really big news out of China last week – okay, from my admittedly narrower perspective – was the official launching of Cinefex China.

A little over a year ago, I was approached by Jooick Lee, a film producer and senior executive at Dexter Studios, the largest, and arguably foremost, visual effects studio in Asia, with facilities in both Korea and China. Over lunch at a Korean restaurant in Los Angeles, he explained that Dexter Studios wished to secure a licensing agreement to publish Korean and Chinese editions of Cinefex. Interest in visual effects was on the rise among Asian filmgoers – especially in China, the fastest-growing film market in the world – and, perhaps more importantly, Dexter felt that artists in Asia’s burgeoning effects community would be well-served by a publication designed to help them keep abreast of techniques and technologies used elsewhere in the world.

This was not the first time we had been approached with such a proposal. A Japanese edition of Cinefex has been published by a succession of companies for nearly 30 of our 35 years. And for shorter stretches of time, with less success, we had licensed editions in France, Italy and Russia.

Cinefex China front cover

Front cover of the first issue of Cinefex China

With a deal in place to produce both Korean and Chinese editions, the Dexter publishing team decided to focus first on China. We provided them with articles and imagery for Cinefex 142, which would form the basis of the first Cinefex China edition. They translated the articles to exacting standards and designed the publication, using a vertical page format they felt was better suited to the Chinese market than the horizontal format we employ in the U.S. edition.

The end result is a strikingly beautiful premiere issue – 186 pages of text and photos that does us all proud.

Staff members and guests gather outside Dexter Studios in Beijing to celebrate the launching of Cinefex China.

Staff members and guests gather outside Dexter Studios in Beijing to celebrate the launching of Cinefex China.

Last Wednesday, Cinefex China was introduced to the public at a launch ceremony conducted at the Dexter Studios facility in Beijing. I was honored to be in attendance. Posters lined the walkway and a billboard-size screen bearing the Cinefex logo and an array of cover images became a signing board for the principals involved. It was like a Hollywood premiere – without the stars.

Inside the facility, we were treated to a show reel produced by Dexter Studios which featured, among other things, some remarkable footage of an all-CG gorilla baseball player and a rampaging Bengal tiger that, to my eye, compared most favorably with similar creations produced in the West.

Cinefex China panel discussion

Jooick Lee (left) moderates a bilingual panel discussion with participants Jacob Cheung, John Bruno and Don Shay.

An audience of about 200 – many of them artists in the Chinese visual effects community – bore witness to the launch ceremony, which was highlighted by a panel discussion on visual effects, in and out of China. Panelists included Oscar-winning visual effects supervisor John Bruno, distinguished director and producer Jacob Cheung, and me. Jooick Lee moderated the panel, which was translated in real-time, deftly switching back and forth between American and Chinese speakers. It was a gala event, warmly received.

Welcome aboard, Cinefex China. We wish you every success.

4 thoughts on “Introducing Cinefex China

  1. How about importing some copies over and making them available to US readers in your store? A neat collectible! -Keith J.

  2. You were mistaken by saying it was like a Hollywood Premier without the stars.
    You and Estelle were the stars! Congrats!!!

  3. I know about enough Chinese to fill a teacup, but it looks like 魔影视效 isn’t meant to sound like “Cinefex” (it’s seemingly pronounced “Mó yǐngshì xiào”), but rather to have a similar meaning.

    魔 can mean “magic” (it also means “demon”); 影视 conveniently seems to cover television, cinema, and video (literally “viewing shadows”); and 效 can mean “effect.”

    So, 魔影视效 could be translated as “Magical Cinema Effects,” which seems pretty apt.

    Congrats to Cinefex China!

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