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Reviving Cinema in Beijing

By Jasmine Xie

Jasmine Xie, founder of Nova Universal, a femal entrepreneur based in Beijin leading a media and talent agency.
Jasmine Xie, founder of Nova Universal, (left) with her mother (right).

I was back in my hometown Dalian, China, getting ready to celebrate the festivities of Chinese New Year, on the day that COVID-19 became real. I remember having dinner with my family and overhearing the waiters talk about a flu that has been going around. I remember walking out of the restaurant to take a family photo without masks for what would be the last time in a long time.

I run a creative talent management company called Nova Universal, our incredibly international and diverse team work as the management of behind-the-scenes creators such as directors, cinematographers, and photographers. Amongst the

small businesses stifled by the virus, we were one of the lucky ones because our monthly expenditure has always been kept low thanks to a streamlined business and collaborative work model. Nevertheless, our business thrives on physical shoots, physical shoots require a team of creators to work in one location together, and that was simply not possible under the circumstances. Just as many others felt the need to drive digital innovation, so did we.

Women in Media China Film series hosted by Nova Universal and Cinker Pictures in Beijing.
A moment at the Women in Media China Film series hosted by Nova Universal and Cinker Pictures.

The director I represent, who is also a long term business partner of mine, took the initiative to start a motion pictures studio named Forthoght during this time. Much of our lockdown days were spent looking over Articles of Association and planning Instagram content for Forthoght, to at least digitally jumpstart the corporation. Despite a scattered team across different parts of the globe, these dire times only helped to highlight that our love for cinema is what will carry us past this mess that the world made.

For those of us in China, we have been fortunate enough to heal and continue on with business and life almost as usual now. When Beijing lifted its restrictions on large gatherings, our team held an intimate film screening for the Women in Media community of Beijing. We knew that the film industry was in much need of rejuvenation, and we wanted to create that opportunity for the microenvironment within our reach.

From dealing with facilitating remote shoots, to relying on a stable internet connection to make up for the lack of physicality, it is needless to say that COVID has changed our work and personal lives in ways unimaginable. Times like these have helped me realise that being able-bodied is a blessing. And for those that can trudge on, head forth and help carry a few weary along the way if you abundantly can.

Forthoght's Instagram planned by Nova Universal and Jasmine Xie.
A snapshot of Forthoght's Instagram page planned by Nova Universal and Jasmine Xie.

Jasmine Xie is the CEO and Founder of Nova Universal a creative talent and production agency based in Beijing, Hong Kong, and London. She is also the Executive Director of Forthoght, a motion pictures and media company based in Nigeria.

You can keep up to date with Jasmine @jasminexiez on Instagram. Jasmine is also part of Unleash Today and a contributing expert to their book that will be launching early 2021.

Keep up to date with Nova Universal @NovaUniversal on Instagram and Twitter.

Follow Forthoght @forthoght on Instagram.

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