June 16th, 2019
Festival of films, from anime to the universe
By Xu Wei
Film panorama is a traditional and popular part of the Shanghai International Film Festival. The 22nd Shanghai International Film Festival from June 15 to 24 will continue to offer a batch of movies — both new and classics — for local movie buffs.
Among the newly released list for screening are the latest Japanese works of diverse genres.
“The Antique,” a suspense film based on a hit novel, is the latest offering by the award-winning Japanese director Yukiko Mishima.
The film is centered on a bookstore owner who discovers a secret of many years from an antique book.
“Back Street Girls” is a story about three transsexual girls who rose to overnight fame as a pop band.
It is adapted from a hilarious Japanese anime of the same name. It is also the last film starring the late celebrated Japanese actor Ren Ohsugi.
Romance film “Love At Least” is the feature directorial debut of veteran commercials director Kosai Sekine.
Based on an acclaimed novel, the film is an uncommon love story between a lonely woman who suffers hypersomnia and a man who has trouble with relationships.
The drama “Leaving The Scene” is an in-depth exploration and portrayal of humanity as a traffic accident triggers a series of changes to the life of each person involved in it. It is also the second directorial work of famous actor Yutaka Mizutani.
Epic “Musashi” is a story about the legendary life of ancient Japanese samurai. A few visually stunning action scenes are featured in the movie.
“The Island of Cats” is the first feature film of well-known wildlife photographer Iwagou Mitsuaki following the success of his 2012 documentary film about cats.
Also adapted from a Japanese anime, the film tells a heart-warming story about an old man and his cute cats on an island. Audience will be enchanted by the 35 cats in the movie and the beautiful island landscapes.
The film festival will also screen an array of sci-fi movies in tribute to the contribution of the late female director, scriptwriter and film editor Toni Myers to IMAX films.
In February, Myers died of cancer at 75. During her film career that spanned more than 50 years, she was involved in the directing and production of many IMAX movies. Her efforts also inspired and influenced the scenes in two acclaimed sci-fi blockbusters, “Gravity” and “Interstellar.”
In addition to “Gravity” and “Interstellar,” the festival will show three science and educational documentaries by Myers — “Space Station 3D,” “Hubble 3D” and “A Beautiful Planet.”
All the three documentaries were shot in outer space by astronauts. Over recent decades, Myers trained more than 120 astronauts to use IMAX cameras.
“Space Station 3D” displays the work and life of 25 astronauts on the international space station. It grossed US$120 million when it was screened at IMAX theaters in 2002.
“Hubble 3D” features many spectacular photos of galaxies and nebula taken by the Hubble Space Telescope.
“A Beautiful Planet” is a documentary that shows the beauty and splendor of the Earth from the perspective of astronauts. It also records how astronauts from different countries celebrated the New Year.
This year, a total of 47 cinemas around the city, including the Shanghai Film Art Center and the Peace Cinema, will be official screening venues for the festival’s panorama section.
Palace Cinema (IFC) will also be a special cinema for showing Belt and Road movies while the Madhaus Theater will focus on documentaries.
Belt and Road spirit comes alive through Festival Alliance movies
By Rachel Lu
A friendly collaboration at the heart of this year’s 22nd Shanghai International Film Festival was introduced at a press conference yesterday for the Belt and Road Film Festival Alliance.
Films from 24 countries involved in China’s 33-nation Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which facilitates economic partnerships and celebration of culture, will be shown during festival week.
Representatives introduced four films featuring BRI spirit at the event at Crowne Plaza Hotel Shanghai.
Daxiang Pictures presented plans to release a Chinese-Pakistani documentary, “The Gift of God,” which tells the touching story of a Pakistani returning home. Raw and genuinely portraying an emotional transnational journey, it aims to show that movies can be ideal vehicles for fostering cultural conversation.
To show culture as a positive consequence of political alliance, Dong Aihui of VRision Films introduced plans for a universally themed movie, “Love, Sunday,” following China President Xi Jinping’s recent meeting with the Dominican Republic’s leader.
The film is a testament to their relationship, demonstrating cultural nuances and a global perspective. It will be directed by Chookiat Sakveerakul from Thailand, another member of the Belt and Road alliance.
“The King of Grapes” is a Chinese-Australian film, aiming to highlight the culture of movies and wine shared between the two countries. The film will feature scenes from Ningxia, China and Victoria, Australia.
A message was relayed to the press conference from the governor of Victoria, Linda Dessau, who expressed excitement for the BRI and even offered her front lawn as a potential hosting venue.
Diplomat-turned-filmmaker is an odd pathway but Greece’s Vassilis Xiros is proud to take on the new role with thanks for the chance to Shanghai International Film Festival.
Xiros is presenting the film “A Day in the Life of a Teddy Bear” as a love letter to Shanghai, a city he has called home for the past three years. It is about a Chinese musician’s journey to Vienna and will include scenes from Shanghai, Vienna, and Greece.
The Belt and Road sentiment alive at the film festival is aiming to achieve four goals – film recommendations, policy sharing, industry development, and talent mentoring – and foster expansion of the global entertainment industry through art and culture.
Talented young video filmmakers get competitive chance to shine
By Joyce Xu
China’s young filmmaking talents are getting an opportunity to shine through a competition launched yesterday at 22nd Shanghai International Film Festival.
The Digital Media Content Competition: Embracing the New Era encourages young directors to shoot creative and inspiring video works about China and its people.
A jury panel including professional filmmakers, scholars and critics will share their expertise with the contestants.
Professor Zhang Taofu from Fudan University hoped the competition would arouse young people’s enthusiasm for digital video filmmaking. They would have a chance to also learn many skills in observation and expression through sequencing, Zhang said.
The competition, in its second year, is hosted by the News Center of China Media Group. Last year, it honored dozens of videos with good cinematography, visual effects and creativity.
Yang Hua, an official with the organizing committee, said this year’s contest was looking for richer content and more diverse styles.
An awards ceremony will be held around November after four months of public selection. Interactive events will also be organized for college students to improve their video filmmaking techniques.
Yang Wangwen, whose video production “I am Planting a Paddy in Pakistan” received a special Grand Prix award in last year’s competition, said it was a rare opportunity for young directors to record their stories about dreams and youth.
He is also working on videos about Chinese physicians and peace-keeping forces.