SIFF Launches the Belt and Road Film Tour Mechanism
Shanghai International Film Festival (SIFF) has responded to the Belt and Road initiative actively since its proposal by President Xi Jinping in the fall of 2013. Through efforts like the establishment of the Silk Road Film Panorama, the Belt and Road Film Panorama program, and the Belt and Road Film Week, the signing of strategic cooperation agreements and the Memorandum of Cooperation to Promote Film Culture Exchange, and the establishment of the Belt and Road Film Festival Alliance, the festival has scaled up its cooperation year by year and carried forward the Belt and Road initiative as a consistent theme over the years. As a result, film festivals of more and more countries and film institutions are turning the initial intent of cooperation into action. After five years of development, as the Belt and Road initiative is leading the world onto a new path for development, the SIFF launches this fall a new Belt and Road Film Tour Mechanism.
Signing Ceremony of the Belt and Road Film Festival Alliance at the 21st SIFF
During the 21st SIFF this June, 31 film festivals and film institutions from 29 countries around the world signed up to establish the Belt and Road Film Festival Alliance; during the Belt and Road Film Week, many movies from participating countries were screened to meet the expectations of the audience; filmmakers from different countries took part in the Belt and Road Film Culture Showcase by Nation at FILM MARKET, the Belt and Road Film Culture Roundtable Talk and the Belt and Road Film Night to promote their respective film culture, express their wishes to exchange and cooperate with each other and seek common development in the future. The Belt and Road Film Touring Exhibition Mechanism, which has been newly launched on the basis of solid cooperation for several years, will encourage the films, filmmakers and film companies of the countries affiliated with the Belt and Road Film Festival Alliance to participate by means of screenings, displays and exhibitions in film festivals and film markets. It will also promote exchanges between cultures and peoples, mutual trust, and further Belt and Road cultural cooperation through film screenings, meet-and-greets, project negotiations, and market booths.
The 21st SIFF Belt and Road Film Culture Roundtable Talk
The 21st SIFF Belt and Road Film Night
After the closing of the 21st edition, the SIFF established a permanent working organization to maintain daily liaison with members of the Belt and Road Film Festival Alliance, exchange information regularly, and pass on cooperation intentions. After the initial film recommendation, selection and project communication, SIFF has confirmed part of its plan for the Belt and Road Film Touring Exhibition at film festivals to be held soon in different countries. In its plan, SIFF will hold a market exhibition at Ukraine’s Kiev Media Week in mid-September; in the “Shanghai International Film Festival Presents” program of Hungary’s Miskolc International Film Festival to be held in late September, Girls Always Happy, the opening film of last year’s SIFF Belt and Road Film Week, has been shortlisted for the main competition and Asian New Talent Award nominee Kill the Shadow and Golden Goblet Award nominee for best animated film SHe will be screened; the Vancouver International Film Festival to be held from late September has selected films such as Ala Changso, this year’s winner of the Golden Goblet Award for Best Screenplay and Jury Grand Prix, and Girls Always Happy for screening; Chinese film Yun Jie screened at this year’s REFRESHING CHINESE CINEMA has been recommended by SIFF and included by Poland’s Warsaw International Film Festival in mid-October for its DISCOVERIES section; recommended by SIFF, the 4K restoration of Hibiscus Town directed by Xie Jin will be screened at France’s Lumière Film Festival in mid-October; Chinese film Ala Changso recommended by SIFF has been shortlisted in the Screen International program of the Quezon City International Film Festival in the Philippines to be held in late October.
Girls Always Happy
Kill the Shadow
Among the films recommended by SIFF for the Belt and Road Film Touring Exhibition, some have been selected from outstanding Chinese films shortlisted for the Golden Goblet Awards or Asian New Talent Awards or screened at the 21st SIFF, some from the latest Chinese films in theater. The film festivals have responded with great enthusiasm and support, and at the same time strictly followed their respective criteria for selection. The finalists when screened will be identified by the "SIFF" and the "Belt and Road Film Festival Alliance" logos, which will promote the SIFF as a symbol of the "Shanghai Culture" brand, enhance its comprehensive influence and brand awareness in the countries. People associated with the film festivals generally see these recommended films as a true reflection of contemporary Chinese society and helpful for viewers to get to know and understand Chinese culture. It is reported that SIFF has also recommended Chinese films to the Mumbai Film Festival in India, the Thessaloniki International Film Festival in Greece, the Minsk International Film Festival in Belarus, the Tallinn Black Film Festival in Estonia, the Cairo International Film Festival in Egypt, Nepal International Film Festival, the Irish Silk Road International Film Festival, etc. set to take place later this year and currently still open for submissions.
Still from One Two Jaga (Malaysia)
Still from Neomanila (the Philippines)
The establishment of the Belt and Road Film Festival Alliance and the implementation of the Belt and Road Film Touring Exhibition mechanism not only promoted the film culture exchange between countries, but also enriched the film festivals’ source of submissions for competition and screening. During the 21st SIFF, the New York Asian Film Festival, a signatory of the alliance, selected One Two Jaga of Malaysia and Neomanila of the Philippines screened at the Belt and Road Film Week, which it screened this July; the Nepal International Film Festival and the Sofia International Film Festival in Bulgaria also expressed their desire to hold a Belt and Road Film Festival Alliance program next February and March respectively and looked forward to SIFF’s support. The SIFF will expand the Belt and Road film culture exchange from a program during the festival to cooperation throughout the year. It will tour no less than 10 countries every year. In addition to recommending films for screening and implementing exhibition projects, it will also recommend filmmakers and film companies for in-depth participation in the film festivals, further enhance the friendships between nations through further exchange of film culture and cooperation. In the world of film, the distance between nations, however great, will be shortened as if we were right next to each other.