From 25 November to 1 December, Minister Sven Gatz undertook the very first Flemish trade mission for the cultural sector. Destination: Tokyo and Beijing. The goals are the same as these of an economic trade mission; Flemish organizations, under the guidance of the minister, look for new contacts and collaborations.
Ten cultural organizations from different sectors travelled to Japan. They are mainly looking for new opportunities on the – for some unknown - Japanese market. “Doing this within the framework of a trade mission facilitates everything. The possibilities accelerate. And now we can develop a more sustainable route," said Johan De Smet, artistic director of the Gentse Kopergietery.
Ten other organizations jointed the minister for the Chinese part of the trade mission. Also looking for new collaborations and contacts. Minister Gatz also took the opportunity to sign, together with the Chinese Minister of Culture, Luo Shugang, the new cultural work program between Flanders and China for the next three years. "Here it is important to have an agreement with the government," Minister Gatz said, "when the government supports the idea, it is easier for the cultural actors to realize concrete projects."
Therefore, many elements in the work program are quite specific. For example, the explicit wish to make film or TV co-productions was included. The Flemish Production House Geronimo Film travelled along in search of a Chinese co-producer for a Jommeke liveaction film situated in China.