HUANG Hai: The Poster as a Tribute to the Heroes behind the Scenes
In early March 2019, HUANG Hai rushed again to Shanghai where it had been raining continually. With the creation of the poster approaching the end, in order for it to be more in line with the concept and appeal of the Shanghai International Film Festival (SIFF), he specially made a visit to Shanghai again to solicit opinions and suggestions from the festival staff.
When approached by SIFF last year with a commission to design a poster for it, HUANG Hai did not give a straight reply immediately. As he later admitted, despite his abundant experience in creating posters for movies, he still felt it a stressful task to design a poster for a film festival. The reason was a simple one: "I don't want to repeat myself, which will also fail SIFF."
Anyone who knows HUANG Hai well knows that he is not a prolific poster designer. Compared with other companies, HUANG Hai’s studio Zhuye (竹也) has an “inappropriately” small annual “production” of posters. However, in China’s movie poster design industry, HUANG Hai is an existence that can never be ignored. SHADOW, HIDDEN MAN, DYING TO SURVIVE, SHOPLIFTERS, MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO... Every poster he designed for these movies is a great success and surprise with great popularity.
The commission from SIFF is a big challenge for HUANG Hai. After several restless nights of contemplation, he decided to employ the classic theme of Havoc in Heaven out of two considerations: First, SIFF is the only A-category international film festival in China with far-reaching influence; second, he has a special fondness for HAVOC IN HEAVEN, a movie produced in Shanghai.
"I feel that HAVOC IN HEAVEN is the utmost representation of the aesthetics of the Chinese cinema, and the brainchild of the older generation of Chinese filmmakers. It is a work that does not distinguish the front stage from the back stage, but pulls the two together for collective wisdom and dedication." HUANG Hai believes that HAVOC IN HEAVEN itself contains the two key words "Shanghai" and "film" and that Sun Wukong is the spiritual totem of the Chinese nation and has become a typical image of the Chinese culture worldwide. To express the oriental cultural elements to the world in the artistic language popular among contemporary people is his consistent poster design concept.
The poster presents the theme of “Creative Heroes Behind the Scenes”, concisely demonstrating the positioning of the Shanghai International Film Festival“Focusing on Asia, Promoting Chinese Films, and Supporting New Talents”, and the orientation since its establishment towards encouraging content creation, respecting those behind the scenes, developing new talents for filmmaking, and jointly promoting China’s film industry.