The Belt and Road Film Festival Alliance Sees Great Exhibition Results with Members Increasing
Founded at the 21st Shanghai International Film Festival in June 2018, the Belt and Road Film Festival Alliance provides member institutions with an international cooperation platform for communication, joint development and sharing. From last September, Shanghai International Film Festival launched the Belt and Road Film Tour with this platform. After nearly half a year of hard work, it has successfully brought a number of outstanding Chinese films and filmmakers to film festivals around the world. The platform has also made positive progress in strengthening communication, exchange and cooperation. At the second working meeting of the Alliance held in Berlin last week, it was learned that as the Alliance gradually gained influence, another five international film festivals applied for membership. This increased the Alliance’s membership from 31 member institutions in 29 countries to 36 member institutions in 32 countries within less than one year of establishment.
FU Wenxia, Managing Director of the Shanghai International Film & TV Festival Center hosted the second working meeting of the Belt and Road Film Festival Alliance
The screenings were well received
After the establishment of the Alliance, Shanghai International Film Festival launched a new Belt and Road Film Tour mechanism through liaison, negotiation and recommendation, extending the Belt and Road film culture exchange carried out during the annual film festival in the past five years to the whole year, and promoting the cooperation of the member institutions from idea to action. Last September, the representatives of Shanghai International Film Festival together with the Chinese films GIRLS ALWAYS HAPPY, KILL THE SHADOW, SHE and the cast and crew members participated in Jameson CineFest - Miskolc International Film Festival in Hungary. They were well received by the film festival and also the local audience. Among them, GIRLS ALWAYS HAPPY was shortlisted for the main competition unit. At each meeting after the screening, the audience interacted with the representatives of the cast and crew to discuss their opinions of the film, and the cultural differences cordially. ZHOU Shengwei, director of the feature-length animated film SHE, thanked Shanghai International Film Festival for honoring the film with the Golden Goblet Award nomination, and enabling more audiences around the world to see the open mind of contemporary young Chinese filmmakers. Deputy Mayor of the City of Miskolc János Kiss said: "The three Chinese films recommended by Shanghai International Film Festival have brought to us the vivid and dynamic life in contemporary China."
First stop of the Belt and Road Film Tour – the Miskolc International Film Festival
Similarly well received were YUN JIE at last October’s Warsaw International Film Festival, ALA CHANGSO at last November’s Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival, etc. YUN JIE focuses on the status quo of left-behind children in rural areas, and its unique shooting technique prompted audiences’ questions to the director of cinematography. The artistic director of the Minsk International Film Festival “Listapad” of Belarus was deeply touched by ALA CHANGSO, a story about the people in Tibet, yet conveying simple and common emotions of human beings.
The Belt and Road Film Tour: Chinese film YUN JIE screened at Warsaw International Film Festival
The Belt and Road Film Tour also featured GIRLS ALWAYS HAPPY, ALA CHANGSO, etc. at the Vancouver International Film Festival in Canada, QCinema International Film Festival in the Philippines, and the Silk Road International Film Festival in Ireland.
Various forms of exhibitions enhance communication
SIFF representatives gave an overview of the festival as the Belt and Road Film Tour came to Greece’s Thessaloniki International Film Festival
The SIFF Belt and Road Film Tour have enhanced mutual understanding and communication between filmmakers of different countries with comprehensive exchange activities such as exhibitions and forums in addition to screenings. Last September, the Film Tour set up a market booth at Ukraine’s Kyiv Media Week to showcase Shanghai International Film Festival to counterparts from all over the world. And when it came to the Thessaloniki International Film Festival in Greece last November, the Film Tour gave an overview of Shanghai’s services for domestic and foreign film and television production, which greatly interested many European film industry professionals. During the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival in Estonia, the “Sino-European Co-production: A Fad or a Future?” forum held by SIFF was actively attended by a full audience and a panel including co-producer of ASH IS PUREST WHITE and film critic YANG Jinsong, purchasing director of Shidai Huaying Media (Beijing) Co., Ltd. SONG Yiran, head of the Sino-Finland Bigger Picture Project Kati Nuora, etc. The forum not only introduced European filmmakers to the types, norms, operational models and related policies of “co-production” defined by China’s film industry, but also conducted in-depth dialogue on how to develop a broader and diversified cooperation model.
The Belt and Road Film Tour: ALA CHANGSO, winner of the Golden Goblet Award screened at the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival
To date, the Film Tour has had 22 screenings of Chinese films at six member festivals of the Alliance, with more than 3,000 viewers. Among the films shown, ALA CHANGSO won the Best Director and Best Actress Awards at Ireland’s Silk Road International Film Festival. In the first half of this year, the Film Tour will come to the Nepal International Film Festival, the Sofia International Film Festival of Bulgaria, the Moscow International Film Festival of Russia, the Fajr International Film Festival of Iran and the Transylvania International Film Festival in Romania. Both the Iranian and the Romanian film festivals will feature a “Focus China” section to showcase the past, present and future of Chinese cinema to local audiences.
Enhance mutual communication, and seek cooperation opportunities
Members of the Belt and Road Film Festival Alliance engaged in discussion
The establishment of the Belt and Road Film Festival Alliance has not only provided the SIFF with an opportunity to launch the Film Tour mechanism, allow more audiences from all over the world to understand the Chinese society through movies, but also created an interactive platform that is equal, open and transparent for the film festivals to open up communication channels and enhance mutual cooperation. At the working meeting of the Alliance, it was learned that the Cairo International Film Festival held last November launched in collaboration with the Moscow Film Festival the "Focus on Russia" events; in January this year, the Minsk International Film Festival of Belarus and the New Zealand Film Commission expressed their interests in cooperation on the exchange of talents and recommendation of films. And under the cooperation framework of the Alliance, other film festivals are also actively discussing and seeking new opportunities for cooperation in film recommendation, talent exchange and results sharing.
33 representatives from 27 member institutions of the Alliance participated in the second working meeting
Old and new friends to gather in Shanghai in June
At the second working meeting of the Alliance held in Berlin last week, five film festivals were announced to join as new members, namely Iran’s Fajr International Film Festival, Israel’s Jerusalem Film Festival, Lebanon’s Beirut International Film Festival, Ukraine’s Kiev International Film Festival and Italy’s Rome Film Festival. At the meeting, the representatives shared developments of the film festivals and discussed the programs of the 22nd Shanghai International Film Festival to be held this June. It is reported that this year’s Belt and Road Film Week will invite members of the Alliance to participate in SIFF Project where they will take a view of the works in progress (WIP). Famous filmmakers from the countries of the member festivals will also be invited to master classes, and foreign filmmakers and Chinese buyers to SIFF Market. It is hoped that the Alliance and the Film Tour will facilitate the exchange of films between China and the rest of the world.