updated 13 Feb 2012, 23:47
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Thu, Jan 26, 2012
China Daily/Asia News Network
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Starring in your own romantic drama

BEIJING - Guo Xi never thought she would be a movie star but she felt like one after hearing a big round of applause from the 140 guests at the beginning of her wedding ceremony.

Guo, 26, and her 28-year-old boyfriend Yan Xun spent 12,000 yuan (S$2,300) and two days making a five-minute film about their love for one another one month before their big day. Conventional music videos covering the entire wedding day no longer satisfy many of the younger generation who want to try new things to make their nuptials as special as possible.

Many film makers have jumped on the bandwagon of making short films for mobile devices for brides and grooms who see them as a dream platform to present the story of their romance at their wedding ceremonies.

At the same time, wedding planners are trying to provide more professional and diversified services to gain an advantage in the competitive industry.

"Going high-tech and using creative ideas are always the most effective way for them to stay up to date with the growing needs of newly weds," said Shi Kangning, secretary-general of the Committee of Wedding Service Industries.

Not only wedding companies but also photography studios are starting to offer short films to look back at how couples met, to reveal the highs and lows in their relationships and to recall the proposal. Some even embed the stories into a famous movie or music television video.

Record Film Production, a Wuhan-based video-making company of more than 10 years standing, began to make short films about real-life love stories this year. The income from these now accounts for 25 per cent of the company's turnover, said Zhang Yafeng, founder of the company.

"We don't want to fall behind. We have filmed 30 couples this year. Unlike the traditional music video recording the wedding, the short film is creative and requires a good screenplay, director, shooting and editing," Zhang said.

Most of Zhang's clients are white-collar workers who want something new and are willing to pay for it. Prices range from 10,000 to 15,000 yuan.

Tong Jun, 34, who works at a bank, and his girlfriend Dong Fang came to Zhang and told him about their romance over the past seven years and asked Zhang to write a screenplay for them. Their love film is called Eternal Moments after the famous trendy Chinese TV drama and romantic film.

"Seven years is not a short time. We wanted to commemorate it and show it to our guests on our wedding day. Most of the scenes replay our time together after being adapted by the director," Tong said.

The short film was posted on, the online video website, and has been played more than 300 times in recent months.

"We dressed in our own clothes and spent two weekends with the shooting team. My favorite Harley-Davidson motorcycles and motorcycle team appear throughout the movie," said Tong.

Tong said although they are not professional actors and sometimes were asked to repeat scenes again and again, they never felt awkward and that it was just like playing outside with friends.

Bolin Film, a Changsha-based studio which made the film for Guo Xi, began to shoot it in Sept 2010.

"We filmed 25 newly weds every month from Oct 2011, and our schedule until March 2012 is already full. Almost one-third of them are orders for short love films. The number is 10 times what it was during the same period in 2010," said Liu Dan, general manager of the studio's television department.

Prices for a short film range from 8,000 to 30,000 yuan depending on the quality and amount of equipment, the director and the time and place.

"We talk to the bride and groom to get an idea of their experiences. If it has a sense of story, we tend to recreate the true narrative. Otherwise the screenplay is worked out between the director and our clients," said Liu.

Bolin Film is cooperating with more than 10 wedding companies in Changsha. Their orders are mainly from those companies asked to offer the film service. It often takes one month from communicating with the couple, to shooting and on to post-production.

"Film shooting is a professional business. Most of the wedding companies are not capable of doing this right now so some are choosing to cooperate with studios," said Shi.

However, as the number of wedding ceremonies and the expenditure on weddings grows year-on-year, short films will become more accepted by more young couples in big cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Dalian and Wuhan, according to Shi.

"It will become a new profit-growth engine for the wedding industry in the next one to two years," he said.

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