June 23st, 2019
BAFTA pitches in to give Breakthrough support to future Chinese stars
By Joyce Xu
The peak promoter of cinema art in Britain announced it would extend its Breakthrough talent initiative to China yesterday at the 22nd Shanghai International Film Festival.
The collaboration between the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) and financier Yu Holdings will celebrate and support China’s future stars of film, games and television and bring them to international attention.
British actor Tom Hiddleston, known for his standout acting in Thor and Only Lovers Left Alive, will be an ambassador for BAFTA Breakthrough China.
Hiddleston said there was so much creativity and craftsmanship in China and initiatives like BAFTA Breakthrough China are instrumental in helping to strengthen the careers of exciting new talent. It will also help to promote them on a global scale, he added.
Amanda Berry, chief executive of BAFTA, said it was the first time the organization’s flagship new talent initiative had been extended to a country outside the United Kingdom.
“Over the years we have gained a greater understanding and appreciation of Chinese creative industries, but we recognize we still have a lot to learn about new talent in China,” she said.
“So, we are reaching out to members of the Chinese film, games and television industries to help us by recommending talented individuals and encouraging them to apply.”
Berry, amazed at the rich culture of China, said BAFTA had been supporting Chinese students in the UK since 2013. She said the new initiative would give rising stars in China strong support and access to wide networks to expand their careers.
From now on, Chinese industry professionals can recommend potential candidates who may be a director, writer, producer, actor or game developer to apply to the program. This could be done through: https://www.bafta.org/supporting-talent/breakthrough/breakthrough-china.
The deadline for industry recommendations is August 12. The deadline for applications from individual candidates is August 16.
Successful applicants will be announced in October and will have opportunities for mentoring sessions and exchanges with British, Chinese and international industry figures.
Collaboration Strong Between Hong Kong and Shanghai Sectors, Say Film Veterans
By Cheryl Heng
Shanghai and Hong Kong of China film professionals agreed that levels of exchange and cooperation between their two industries were strong during a forum at the 22nd Shanghai International Film Festival on Friday.
The strengths of collaboration between filmmakers in the cities are due to the similar spirit and style of the cities, the professionals said.
“We both have a kind of pursuit of progress and respect for our histories, inevitable features of a megacity,” said Hong Kong director Felix Chong.
“Shanghai embraces diverse cultures like Hong Kong of China does. I believe that a good film should be inclusive of different cultures and that’s why I came to mainland China to shoot film,” Chong said.
Film veterans agreed that Shanghai was a charming city where can shoot in, with an open and diversified environment and favorable government policies.
“Shanghai is the cradle of Chinese films,” said Danny Wei, CEO of Banana Pictures.
“In the 1940s, films which are made in Shanghai represented about all Chinese films. After liberation, Shanghai continued to contribute to nearly half of China’s film studio output.”
Chong’s movie “The Silent War” was produced in Shanghai in 2012. He considers the city an ideal location for historical movies, with a good blend of Western and Oriental building styles around which to shoot traditional scenes.
Despite the film practitioners of Hong Kong has enjoyed great popularity in international markets, they remain humble, said Ren Zhonglun, chairman of Shanghai Film Group.
“I have interacted with many Hong Kong directors and hear them talk about their work, I could say that they are easy going and they have genuine intentions,” said Ren. “I really admire their spirits and morality at work.”
Greater potential for cooperation between both film industries is also due to new measures unveiled by the State Film Administration in April this year. Restrictions have been lifted to allow professionals of Hong Kong, China and Macau, China, including casting, to work on mainland films.
“Supportive policies like that give creatives and producers much more flexibility,” said producer Stephen Lam. “We can expand our horizons and unleash for our production imagination when we collaborate with Shanghai film practitioners.”
In foreseeing changes in the Shanghai and Hong Kong industries, Shanghai Film Group boss Ren surmised about the emergence of a new Movies from the South genre.
“I participate in the Hong Kong,China and Shanghai film industry forum every year,” he said.
“I may represent the film profession in Shanghai, but I find the definitions are becoming increasingly blurred. What new movies can we generate through collaboration from both cities? Can there ever be a genre like Movies from the South or from the Yangtze River?”
As the forum came to an end, Ren recommended the audience visit the Shanghai Film Museum to check out the origins of cooperation between both film industries.
Sichuan Opera Story Wins Award for Best Film at Asian New Talent Awards
By Rachel Lu
The story of a Sichuan Opera troupe, “To Live to Sing,” was praised by the jury giving it the Asian New Talent best film award for the delicate and unflamboyant portrayal of traditional local culture.
Director Johnny Ma spoke of his journey in film when he received the award at the 22nd Shanghai International Film Festival on Friday night.
“I’ve been making movies because I try to find feelings of home. This time I was taken to Sichuan, to the Sichuan Opera troupe, and I finally found the real feeling of home. Now at the Shanghai International Film Festival, I have found the feeling of home again,” he said.
The movie also garnered the best actress award for leading star Zhao Xiaoli, a professional Sichuan Opera singer.
The jury said her acting was “natural and confident, with mature balance demonstrating personal charm.” Zhao expressed gratefulness that the film could take her performance art to the world stage.
Japanese director Yuko Hakota won best director award for her movie “Blue Hour,” the story is about an overworked girl whose return home triggers a journey through many memories. After expressing her thanks for the award in three languages, Hakota excitedly waved the trophy in the air with obvious joy.
The best actor award, won by Malaysian actor Yuan Teng for his performance in “The Paradise,” included the jury’s comment about his endless potential for the future. “When I was little, I would pretend that I was accepting an award, and I can’t believe ‘The Paradise’ brought me here today,” Teng said.
Yusuf Radjamuda, Indonesian scriptwriter and director of “Mountain Song,” won the best scriptwriter award, saying he had dedicated the movie to his hometown. “Nine months ago, my hometown was hit by a tsunami and earthquake. Movies can make their lives better, so this film and award is for them,” he said.
Indian director Venumadhav Gajjalai won the best cinematography award for the movie “Moan,” a film about longing for a sick mother and some conversations about life and death.
Two Golden Goblet Awards were given for best live action short film and best animated short film.
“Nowhere Put,” the touching story of a daughter and a father who suffer from Alzheimer’s Disease, won the best live action short film award. “La Noria,” a film combing suspense, horror, and emotion, won best animated short film award.
Director Wen Muye, whose recent success with the movie “Dying to Survive,” told about the strength of the new generation of young film creatives at the awards ceremony.
Wen recounted his initial decision to pursue directing when he fell in love with not only just movies, but also the act of film making. He hoped that the new talents of today could remain calm and never forget their passion for this industry.