People: Wang Zhaohui

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Wang Zhaohui is the production manager of CCTV 6's weekly magazine program, World Film Report. World Film Report covers films from all over the world, film festivals and news about directors and actors. Wang answered some questions from Danwei about her experiences making one of CCTV's more unusual programs.

How long have you been a production manager for World Film Report?
Three and a half years.

What was your previous work experience?
I was a producer for sports news programs for Beijing Cable and then production manager for CCTV 5's World Sports Report. I have been working in the TV industry since 1998.

Why did you get into TV?
Theater was my first interest. I studied art direction for theater at the Central Academy of Drama, then went to Australia to further my drama studies at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia. I love theater but it is hard to make living doing it professionally. TV and film seemed like a good combination of the skills I had learned and the ability to make a living.

When did World Film Report start broadcasting? What is the aim of the program?
The program started in January 2002. It aims to introduce Chinese viewers to different styles of cinema, different actors and directors, and international industry news. When the program started, it was the only Chinese TV program that allowed the crew to film everything overseas. Even now, there are not many programs given that kind of latitude. This is because CCTV and the Film Bureau have strongly supported the program.

What kinds of films do you usually cover?
It's a magazine program so we cover many different styles of cinema, and films from different countries. We have done special features on Indian films, Italian films etc. We also profiles of directors, and interviews of Chinese filmmakers overseas. Film festivals are major part of the content, so we cover whatever news comes out of many different international festivals.

What kinds of difficulties do you encounter making the program
Well, the general public don't really know or care about many foreign films. They tend only to be interested in foreign film people if they are big stars.

Most of my colleagues don't even know who Robert Redford is. Another example: I had a chance to interview Wim Wenders, who is one of my favorite directors and an important character in the international film scene. But the interview was reduced to a 30 second clip in the final program, because they said Chinese people are not interested in this type of director.

Is this because the program is very commercial, or because we are in China?
Both. But that after all is one of the purposes of the program: to introduce people to films that they would not normally have the chance to learn about.

What do you think are the major differences between TV in China and other countries?
Well, to compare with Australian TV which I know best since I lived there for eight years, the pace of pace of TV in Australia is quite slow. Programs are made slowly and there are only four channels. Here there are so many channels and programs are made bang bang bang, very fast! There is not much attention paid to details.

How different are the various CCTV channels?
They are quite similar. CCTV 5 programs are quite good, I also like CCTV 1 documentaries. CCTV 8 and 6 are not much different. There is a big difference between CCTV channels and local stations like BTV (Beijing TV). The local channels don't care about the programs, they are technically sloppy and the content is very local.

Are standards of TV production improving
Standards are going up and it certainly shows in CCTV.

Has there been any talk amongst CCTV staff about the new regulations allowing foreign investment in TV production and how that will affect the TV industry in China?
No.

World Film Report has a webpage here. You can watch the program on Sunday 6:45 - 7:00pm.

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