2019-06-24 15:14:45[UPDATES]

Film Dreams Are Realized Here——Review of the 22nd Shanghai International Film Festival

On the evening of June 23, the Golden Goblet Awards Ceremony of 22nd Shanghai International Film Festival was held at the Shanghai Grand Theatre. After Golden Goblet Awards were announced, the ten-day Shanghai International Film Festival also ended with the release of films that won Golden Goblet Awards on June 24. 511 films were screened on this year's film festival, the number of screening was 1745, and the total number of audience was 460,184.

The 22nd Shanghai International Film Festival, held at the 70th birthday of New China celebrated by people of the whole country, striving to push China to change from a big film country to a film power, further deepened the construction of the "Shanghai Culture" brand and the global film & television creation and production center, implemented the strategy of higher quality development of the film and television industry integration in the Yangtze River Delta region, planed from a high starting point, implemented from a high level, pushed in high standards, making the film festival a veritable exchange platform for global filmmakers, a platform boosting the Chinese film industry, a platform cultivating new filmmakers, a platform for the dissemination of film culture, and a platform sharing film results among citizens.

Innovation Developing with the Era 

The Shanghai International Film Festival is founded in Shanghai, develops in China, and is global-oriented. It develops with the times, and keeps improving. The concept of innovation-driven development has already been fully integrated with the film festival. In the 22nd Shanghai International Film Festival, everywhere were innovations that attracted people immediately and deeply impressed the professional peers.

Every year, the film festival adheres to the spirit of developing with the times. The innovation of the content of the film festival has implemented the strategic deployment of the party and the state, has reflected the major nodes of social development, encouraged and inspired the masses and filmmakers to forge ahead. This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of New China. It is the responsibility and mission of the festival to reflect the main line of content innovation, namely the celebration of the 70th birthday of the motherland, throughout the film festival. As early as the early May before the film festival opened, "Glory for 70 Years, Show Original Aspiration with Films" short video series began to spread through communication channels, and trailers edited from 70 films released since the founding of New China reflected the great journey of becoming independent, rich and powerful of the motherland. The film festival release section had a "Film Memory, Time Classic" release unit. The selected 14 films reproduced the precious images of different times gave the young audience completely new viewing experience with unique aesthetic values and historical scenes. Wherein, the global release of 4K-restored WINTER OF THREE HAIRS, the first film released since the founding of New China, became a highlight of the film festival. Although the original open-air screening was changed to indoor screening due to rain, it still set off the film-watching craze among citizens of all ages.

The 70th anniversary of the founding of the New China has also become a highlight of the Golden Goblet Awards Ceremony. The fragment of the acrobatic drama TO LIBERATE SHANGHAI adapted from the film of the same name brought the audience back to Shanghai 70 years ago and made the audience feel the essence of bearing in mind the original aspiration and the mission. The opening forum of the SIFFORUM had a theme of "With Ups and Downs of Seventy Years, to Jointly Build a Strong Nation", and set the tone for this series of activities with interchanged thoughts and a number of ideas. At the forum, the heads of major film organizations looked back at the development of films released since the founding of New China from their respective perspectives, and talked about the future-oriented cultural self-confidence of firmly developing into a film power, which moved all the professional audience present. The crews of a large number of National Day tribute films including THE CLIMBERS have showed up on the red carpet and Golden Goblet Awards Ceremony. The films that were scheduled to be released on National Day holiday and produced by a number of film institutions was released intensively in various "Movie Night" activities, which marked the film festival with a distinctive era innovation label and added a festive atmosphere of welcoming the 70th anniversary of the New China.

Innovations are everywhere. For example, in order to discover new talents and encourage young people to engage themselves in film industry, this year's film festival added a short video "exploration" unit and SIFF Project Lab, which improved the ladder-type new talent cultivation system; in order to strengthen the festival purpose of "being based on Asia, focusing on Chinese films, and supporting new talent", the "SIFF ASIA" architecture was launched as an innovation on the basis of the Asian New Talent Award. The Golden Goblet Awards Ceremony unveiled this year's film festival, and its 5G+4K ultra-high-definition live broadcast was successfully completed by China Media Group and various units, which was China's first 5G+4K ultra-high-definition live broadcast of large-scale cultural event. In this year - the so-called "first year of using 5G in business", the 5G+4K live broadcast not only allows the majority of audience to experience the ultra-high-definition live scenes before the TV festival, but also uses high-tech and media platforms, which has strengthened the dissemination quality and the dissemination energy of the film festival and has produced demonstration effects on various cultural activities that are striving to improve the level of benefiting the people and international communication.

The film festival did not innovate blindly; it carefully considered the development of the times and the needs of the masses, elaborately evaluated and planned every innovation. For example, in the exhibition section, according to audience's diverse aesthetic interests, the unit classification was innovatively planned. According to the characteristics of improved film production and theater design technology due to new technology, the "new vision" unit was added this year, and a large number of IMAX+3D, Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos and other films were introduced globally to share with the audience; combined with the deepened cooperation between the Shanghai International Film Festival and the Cannes Film Festival, the "Zero Time Difference with Cannes" unit was innovatively added this year. The excellent films just released in Cannes were released to the Chinese audience in time; in order to allow fans to make close exchange with international filmmakers, the "Film School" was added.

Promoting Film Industrialization Is New Kinetic Energy of Economic Development

The Spring Festival Sci-fi film THE WANDERING EARTH earned more than 4.6 billion yuan at the box office. The discussion of this phenomenal film continued to the 22nd Shanghai International Film Festival. Now, people have shifted from the story plot analysis and sci-fi scenario imagination of THE WANDERING EARTH to the back of film creation: how can our film industry establish a strong industrial system to lay a solid foundation for the production of more Sci-fi films like THE WANDERING EARTH and meet the cultural needs of the general public with continuous excellent works?

There is no doubt that China will have a strong film industry to support its progress from a big film country to a powerful one. The success of THE WANDERING EARTH has opened people's call and expectation for the film industrialization system. In this film festival, Shanghai unveiled its "service card", "technology core" and "world window" measures covering the entire industry chain, transforming the layout of the implementation of the film industrialization system into new kinetic energy to boost Shanghai's economic development.

Shanghai Hi-tech Films and Televisions City has released GENERAL CONCEPTUAL PLANNING OF SHANGHAI HI-TECH FILMS AND TELEVISIONS CITY and SONGJIANG DISTRICT'S SEVERAL POLICIES ON PROMOTING THE DEVELOPMENT OF FILM AND TELEVISION INDUSTRY IN SHANGHAI HI-TECH FILMS AND TELEVISIONS CITY. The former uses "technology core" and "world window" to implement "dual-core linkage" to build an industry-leading gathering center of science and technology film and television industry and a window for the global exchange of Chinese and foreign film and television culture. The latter encourages and supports domestic and overseas film and television enterprises to settle down and implement projects with system guarantee and policy inclination. According to the blueprint, the Hi-tech Films and Televisions City will have 60 studios covering an area of 150,000 square meters, two thirds of which will be high-tech studios, supplemented by supporting offices, education, training and other institutions, to create a global film and television creation center in Shanghai, forming a 1+3+X film and television industry development pattern and providing a solid foundation for protection. The plans and policies of Shanghai Hi-tech Films and Televisions City were released on the film festival platform where Chinese and foreign media gathered, quickly becoming hot news and attracting global attention.

One industry promotes all industries promotion. The creation of a global film and television creation center and the construction of a highland for the film industry have become irresistible momentum, and will certainly drive the further development of Shanghai's cultural industry and the high-quality integration in the Yangtze River Delta region.

Shanghai's efforts to optimize the business environment and launch the "Shanghai Service" brand have also been fully reflected in the film industry service. On the opening day of the film market of this film festival, Shanghai film and television service agencies, which have accumulated rich experience in serving the shooting of Chinese and foreign film and television, actively implemented the national strategy of integration and high-quality development in the Yangtze River Delta region. They joined forces with major film and television shooting bases in Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Anhui in the Yangtze River Delta to issue four major initiatives, namely, jointly establishing and perfecting the film and television shooting service system in the Yangtze River Delta region, jointly compiling the Guidelines to Film and Television Shooting in the Yangtze River Delta Region, jointly publicizing the film and television shooting policy and shooting service environment in the Yangtze River Delta region, and jointly establishing a film and television shooting database in the Yangtze River Delta region. They will make full use of and integrate rich resources to provide high-quality services to more Chinese and foreign film and television shootings. The enhancement of the service level of the film industry will further optimize the good business environment with precision, system and efficiency, thus providing high-quality service guarantee for the construction of the film industrialization system.

Whether it is the SIFFORUM, where data are intensive and viewpoints converge, or the movie market, where guests are flocking and shows are densely packed, the construction of the film industrialization system has become a major theme. There are 313 domestic and foreign exhibitors in the film market of this film festival, around the theme of the film industry, three theme pavilions have been set up, namely, “"angtze River Delta film and television shooting base", "film talent training" and "film investment and financing". More than 20,000 professional visitors have been attracted to the site and discuss cooperation.

At the SIFFORUM of "How to Construct an Effective Industrialization Standard System in Film Industry", Frant Gwo, director of THE WANDERING EARTH, sighed, "We have produced THE WANDERING EARTH and know how difficult and how far apart this road is." Because it is full of difficulties, it needs to be challenged. When Chinese filmmakers realized the difficulties, risks, opportunities and future coexist on this road, they did not hesitate to sound the charge. The confident and wise expression can be felt everywhere along with the film festival. There is no doubt that the challenge of striding forward to a film power and building an industrial system for Chinese films will surely extend beyond the film festival and become the conscious action of all Chinese filmmakers.

Form an Interconnected Series to Build An Ecological Pattern

After 26 years of continuous innovation and accumulation, the Shanghai International Film Festival has reached the 22nd session. It has formed a balanced pattern and a stable structure. This indicates that the film festival has been self-adjusting in its insistence on innovation and has grown mature. Take the Shanghai International Film Festival as a big tree built by light and image, and then the various sections and series would be the trunks and stems of the big tree, which make the tree flourish and rich in content. And the major series are interrelated and mutually motivated, which constitutes the ecological structure of the film festival.

One of the highlights of this year's film festival is the six-tiers system for the improvement of the ladder-type newcomer cultivation system that has been built for many years. With the potential and talent displayed by short video creation, newcomers got access to the movie hall, participated in the Golden Goblet short film selection with short film works, entered the SIFF Project Lab with outstanding film creation talents, and then used his own creativity to dock with the industry through the SIFF PROJECT, to further make a long film and participated in the selection of the Asian New Talent Award, and finally climbed to the peak of the Golden Goblet Award. This is a gradual newcomer cultivation series with clear-cut levels, each level corresponds to young filmmakers of different growth period, and it will also give more care and support for their creation and production when they are climbing to the next step. In fact, in the process of this series creating a closed loop of talent cultivation, a large number of filmmakers have made great efforts stepping upward and finally become a master with abundant works. While the experiences and efforts itself are the opportunities for growth offered to newcomers.

"Civilization diversity causes exchange, exchange causes mutual learning, and mutual learning causes mutual development". According to the spirit of the speech of General Secretary Xi at the Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilizations and the aim of "standing in Asia, supporting newcomers, paying attention to Chinese film," The film festival also innovatively expands, combines and upgrades the Asian New Talent Award in the ladder-type newcomer cultivation system, forming a series of "SIFF·ASIA" frameworks, including Asian Film Exhibition to sort Asian film classics and screen films country by country; Asian New Talent Award to encourage the creation and development of Asian filmmakers; Asian venture capital co-production projects to promote Asian film industry interaction; and Asian Film Mix & Meeting to promote Asian filmmakers' interaction; Movie Express Asia Station to help more outstanding domestic films go abroad. At the Asian Film Mix & Meeting, famous filmmakers and young filmmakers from China and abroad had a friendly professional interaction. Ning Hao, SHI NAN SUN, Yûya Ishii, MiDi Z, Alec Su and etc., these old and new judges of Asian New Talent Award gave lessons using their personal experiences, and the young directors proposed various kinds of confusions and questions regarding going toward the market and toward success. No matter where they came from, they gathered together, rendering strong teacher-student feelings and warmth.

After years of development, the "Belt and Road" film culture exchange series launched by the Shanghai International Film Festival has entered the stage of deepening implement and improving quality. From the establishment of the "Silk Road" special film exhibition in 2015 to the signing of a memorandum of cooperation by five countries, the initial exchanges remained in pieces and intention. However, even small movements have aroused the positive reaction of more national filmmakers. Thus, the film festival saw the needs and found the space for expanding. To this end, it invested more energy to visit a lot of film festivals and participate in a lot of meetings, finally, in 2018, the "Belt and Road" film festival alliance consisting of 29 countries and 33 member institutions was established, and the "Belt and Road" film week was also set up. After the film festival ended last year, relying on the platform of the alliance, the Shanghai International Film Festival immediately launched the "Belt and Road" film tour mechanism to push new Chinese newcomers to the member festivals. On the first day of this year's festival, the alliance has expanded to 38 member institutions in 33 countries across five continents, and film festivals in more countries have expressed that they want to join this "big family."

Whether it is the ladder-type newcomer cultivation system for the Chinese film industry, or the "SIFF·ASIA" framework plan to promote Asian film culture exchanges and mutual learning, or the "Belt and Road" film culture exchange and cooperation to promote mutual cooperation and sharing, they all formed interactions between exhibitions, markets, forums, etc., which promotes each other. For example, the outstanding films of the Asian New Talent Award entered the "Belt and Road" film tour, forums and markets invited Asian countries and the "Belt and Road" countries to participate in discussions and exhibitions, and filmmakers and institutions from more countries have also actively come to Shanghai with their films. It is this kind of "interwoven" exchange and mutual learning series that has built a healthy ecological pattern of the development, making the Shanghai International Film Festival a lush tree standing proudly on the Asian cultural land and full of vitality.

Be Filled With Hope to Accurately Service the Youth 

When young people thrive, movies thrive. China is moving forward from a major film country to a film power, and Shanghai is building a global film and television creation center. The young people who undertake the mission of building on the past are not only the hope, but also the main force in the future. Since the Asian New Talent Award was established in 2004, the Shanghai International Film Festival has taken it as its duty to discover new young filmmakers and bring qualified new forces to the film industry. In 2007, the SIFF PROJECT was launched. From this year on, this unit, together with the Asian New Talent Award, plays the role of "Cradle of New Talent". Over the past 13 years, 65 films have been hatched and witnessed to enter production. Many of them have also entered the Tokyo International Film Festival, Berlin International Film Festival and other competitions or entered the exhibition. During each film festival, the presentation, negotiation and announcement of SIFF PROJECT are full of youthful atmosphere. In order to provide accurate service to young filmmakers, the hatching mechanism has been continuously optimized. Youth film programs, projects under production, co-production projects, etc. have been set up. This year, a venture capital training camp has been set up, which has evolved into an independent link to be held outside the film festival.

During this year's film festival, a full-day SIFF PROJECT presentation session for film projects was held. Young film creators told stories from life one by one before the jury headed by director Wong Kar-wai, telling everyone how they found truth, goodness and beauty in life, refined sublimation and creation. Although the ability of expression varies from person to person, the words are full of careful observation and hope of life. SIFF PROJECT aims to build a springboard for these young people to realize their film dreams by discovering outstanding new talent and potential works and introducing high-quality industrial resources from the society. It also reflects the feelings of the film festival in serving the construction of the film industry and Shanghai in building a global film and television creation center.

This year's new short video "Exploration" Unit is an innovative move by the Shanghai International Film Festival to bend over backwards and fully guide young people to open the door of movies. Judging from the data of more than 2,000 pieces of works received in just one month's draft, the majority of young people are full of enthusiasm for joining the film industry. Although the artistic content and technical content of short videos are far from those of movies with specifications and standards, they also need to incorporate creativity, discover the perspective of stories and learn editing and production techniques. Filmmakers such as Sandra Ng and Chen Bolin, who participated in the short video "Exploration" Unit, are also very interested in young people's works. They have pointed out that filmmakers are also very concerned about short videos nowadays. There are many similarities between different cultural communication carriers. They hope to discover young people with film talent from this activity and are willing to contribute to the growth of these young people.

Whether it is a ladder-type new talent cultivation system or projects of other sections in the film festival structure, accurate service to the extensive youth should be included in the process of planning, design and implementation. For example, the "Midnight Madness" and "New Horizon" set up by film panorama, as well as the new film exhibitions of various countries, and even the original films without subtitles, were customized out of the wish of cultivating young audiences according to the preferences and interests of young people. Moreover, the film review soliciting of "The True, the Good, and the Beautiful in Film" jointly organized by the Film Festival and Shanghai Citizens Art Festival entered Songjiang University Town for targeted solicitation of young students; Shanghai Film Critics Association has also held the film review writing training camp in Xingfuli at noon for five consecutive days during the film festival. Young white-collar workers attended the course taking advantage of their midday rest, which has become a unique scenery of the film festival. On the first day of purchasing tickets at the film festival this year, the ticket purchasing frenzy appeared again. Among the ticket purchasers of the day, those under the age of 35 accounted for 74%. Obviously, young people were the main force of film watching on Shanghai International Film Festival. Therefore, after Frémaux, the art director of the Cannes Film Festival, saw so many young faces in the cinema, he was very surprised to say: "In China, where the Internet is very developed, there are so many young people entering cinema. After going back, I must tell my peers that the Internet will not make the traditional way of watching film disappear, and cinema is still the position we must stick to."

Promotion of Exchanges and Mutual Learning Made a Distinct Spillover Effect

The film collection for this year's film festival continued to maintain a steady upward momentum, reaching 3,964 films in 112 countries and regions. It was also rare in Class A film festivals all over the world that the film registration was so widely distributed, and the registered films reached such a scale. The increase in the number of registered films has not only proved the promotion of professional influence and authority of Shanghai International Film Festival, but also reflected the rise of Chinese film market, which has attracted the attention of global film institutions. 511 exhibition films were projected for 1,745 screenings in total, and 166 screenings were held after projection. The films of world premiere, international premiere, Asian premiere, and Chinese premiere exceeded 60%, making another solid step towards the further promotion of "Shanghai Culture" brand.

During the film festival, among the 15 Class A film festivals, the presidents or senior officials of 6 Class A film festivals, including Warsaw, Cannes, Cairo, Tallinn, Moscow and Tokyo came to Shanghai; All the representatives of 38 member film festival institutions from 33 countries of the "Belt and Road" Film Festival Alliance were present. In addition to participating in various film festivals, each discussion on cooperation they had with Chinese film institutions and personages was just like a gathering of friends. In the words of Frémaux, the Art Director of the Cannes Film Festival: "We met in Cannes in May and reunited in Shanghai in June. Participating in Shanghai International Film Festival has become an essential work schedule for filmmakers around the world."

As Frémaux said, personages like senior executives, producers, directors, actors, Marketing & PR officers of many film institutions came to Shanghai in June as scheduled. The rise of Chinese film industry and the expansion of market scale have enabled film institutions in various countries see huge market opportunities and cooperation space. In the past few days, whether it is the exhibition site, the main venue of film festival, or the hotels and halls throughout the city, various film nights have risen above the other, including the Golden Rooster and Hundred Flowers Film Festival and the Hainan Island International Film Festival, releasing the information of festival one after another; Various film institutions were constantly releasing new plans, new film lists and new projects day and night; Social places such as restaurants and coffee shops were more popular, and they only talked about one theme: Film!

The film festival also launched the cultural and tourism integration activities of "Follow the Films to Travel Around Shanghai". Judges, participation and exhibition crews, exhibitors and even Chinese and foreign media reporters joined the team, to visit the site of the First Conference of the CPC in the drizzle of June, visit Lujiazui on the Bund, and wander in streets and lanes in Qibao Ancient Town, feeling the red culture, Shanghai-style culture and the cultural atmosphere of Jiangnan in this city of birthplace of Chinese films. Even the British film star Tom Hiddleston, known as "Dousen", was very interested in traveling around. Had it not been for the tight schedule his retinue told him, he couldn't help but go to the New world of Shanghai where he has already inquired. However, Iranian director Seyyed Reza Mir-Karimi, of the competition film CASTLE OF DREAMS winning the three major awards of Golden Goblet Awards such as the Best Picture, achieved a lot when visiting Qibao Ancient Town: "Being in the ancient building, I feel that each single brick and tile are telling their own stories, making my thoughts spontaneously spread to find and build stories about them."



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