• Rob Minkoff is best known for directing "The Lion King."

Rob Minkoff is best known for directing "The Lion King." (Photo : Facebook)

Rob Minkoff, director of animated film "The Lion King," has described "Monkey King: Hero Is Back" as a breakthrough in Chinese animation in terms of technique and style.

The Oscar-winning director said, at a conference in Beijing, that, "I have noticed Chinese animation improving steadily in terms of techniques, technology, and the craft of animation over the past few years."

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Regarding "Monkey King: Hero Is Back," Minkoff said, "though I have not watched the whole film yet, I have seen several clips of it which look quite innovative."

"Monkey King: Hero Is Back" is a Chinese animated retelling of the classical epic "Journey to the West." The film has broken box-office records in China for animation, making more than 900 million yuan ($141 million) since it opened in July.

Lu Wei, the film's producer, also attended the conference. He said that the film used new story-telling skills like special effects to tell an old story to the new generation.

Lu also cited innovative methods for fundraising as crucial to the film's success. More than 7 million yuan was raised through online crowd-funding, which also served as free advertising for the film.

However, Lu said that China's film industry is still behind in several aspects, including content, marketing and financing, as compared to Hollywood.

Minkoff also talked about the cultural aspect of the film industry.

"Different cultures and countries in the world have their inherent interests. What makes America unique is that America is a nation made of all the nations in the world, so it's natural for Americans to tell a story that is appealing to the world," Minkoff said.

Minkoff added that Chinese culture must explore ways to better interpret their local culture for a global audience.