2020-03-16 10:40:09[UPDATES]

SIFF NEXT | SIFF NEXT 2019 Concludes with Two Projects Shortlisted for SIFF PROJECT 2020

The 22nd Shanghai International Film Festival · SIFF NEXT 2019 was held on December 17-19 at the Shanghai Film Academy of Shanghai University. Joined by 4 professional mentors, 7 shortlisted project owners and 14 young filmmakers went through a 2-day "Development Workshop" and delivered public presentations on December 19. In the end, two Best SIFF NEXT Projects selected by mentors won the places as the 23rd SIFF Project finalists in 2020.

Finalists with Mentors and Guests

To further improve its stepwise incubation system for rising filmmakers, SIFF launched a new program named SIFF NEXT in 2019. Running throughout the entire year, the program is divided into two phases – Phase I for sharing and brainstorming, and Phase II as an accelerator for project development. Last year the 8-day Phase I session consisted of two parts – Industry Fundamentals and SIFF Tour, and took place during the SIFF from June 15 to 22.

Finalists of Phase I

In early November, the organizing committee called for feature film projects and draft scripts from the finalists. Upon strict selection and review, seven participants: LIANG Mo, ZU Jiyan, JIN Junqi, ZHOU Tong, TONG Jiage, YANG Xiaoyin, and Charlotte CHEN were shortlisted for Phase II. The finalist projects were diverse in genres, including thriller, suspense, coming-of-age, romance, crime, etc. – all rendered in contemporary texture. Directors DONG Runnian, and Sonthar Gyal, producers LU Yao and Jacky Pang were appointed mentors for the Phase II session.

Mentors of Phase II

On December 17 and 18, the finalists joined a closed-door workshop, where each of them delivered project presentations and received feedback on schedule, content priority, etc., getting prepared for the public presentation on December 19. Besides, they also had extensive and heated discussions with peers and mentors on their scripts, filming, and casting. The mentors provided patient and thorough guidance for the shortlisted projects, and identified outstanding shortcomings in them. During the workshop, the trainees also shared their doubts and concerns. On the evening of December 18, the shortlisted works were screened at the Shanghai Film Academy, which attracted a number of teachers and students from the Academy as well as filmmakers.


Mentor Jacky Pang at Project Presentation

Shortlisted Director at Post-screening Meeting

On the last day of SIFF NEXT, public presentations and mentor roundtable open to the entire industry took place. Thanks to the two-day intensive brainstorming, the trainees gained a deeper understanding of their own projects, and were more prepared for how to better and confidently present themselves and their projects. Apart from the mentors and HE Xiaoqing, Executive Dean of Shanghai Film Academy, guests from Songjiang District Cultural and Tourism Administration, Jet Tone Films, iQiyi, PMF Pictures, China Film International, Cornerstone Digital, Mofei Pictures were also present to listen to the presentations.

Public Presentation of a Shortlisted Project

To better support new filmmakers, the Phase II session also invited the four mentors to select two Best SIFF NEXT Projects, which were directly granted places as the 23rd SIFF Project finalists in 2020. This move combined the two stages of SIFF’s new talent incubation system – SIFF NEXT and SIFF Project, in a progressive manner. This is also part of SIFF’s efforts to innovate the support system for new film projects. Finally, the two winning projects were USERNAME: CINDY and THE WRECK. The following are the comments given by the mentors. USERNAME: CINDY: With a new and special entry point, it shows an important part of contemporary life that has not been fully represented by other films. In the form of genre films, the topic of Internet violence is discussed. Its innovation in audio-visual expression has also led to full expectation. THE WRECK: The ocean thriller is very unique in the domestic film industry. The ambition of exploring this new genre has earned it originality. With the intact storyline, creative but clear idea, and the combination of different ways of expression, the story teller has made it a keenly anticipated work.




December 19 was the open day of SIFF NEXT, scheduled for the public presentations of the 7 shortlisted projects. And the 4 mentors were invited to a roundtable to share their opinions on the creation and project development by new talents. Afterwards, a cozy tea reception allowed guests to network and spend a year-end afternoon together in the name of cinema. Thanks to the Shanghai Film Academy for its support throughout the Phase II. Despite the freezing winter, all filmmakers, either young or established, were given the opportunity to return to the campus for a down-to-earth dialogue. Regaining confidence and courage from purity and simplicity is also what SIFF NEXT pursues.

Mentor Roundtable

With the conclusion of the Phase II, SIFF NEXT 2019 also came to an end. In February 2020, the program will start a new round of recruitment. We look forward to rising directors, screenwriters and producers meeting in Shanghai every year, outlining the portrait of filmmakers of the next generation.
SIFF NEXT, for the next generation of filmmakers and films.

SIFF NEXT is a separate session for the incubation of new talents at the Shanghai International Film Festival. Shifting the focus from projects to new filmmaking individuals, the program is designed to offer more targeted support for them to enter the industry and complete their first or second feature films. SIFF NEXT is divided into two phases, held respectively in June – during the SIFF, and December each year. In Phase I, shortlisted members will participate in the main activities of the "Training Workshop", Film Panorama and SIFForum to acquire film festival experience and also communicate with domestic first-line film workers to expand industry resources, enrich practical experience, and prepare for the development of new projects. Phase II will be held in December after SIFF. The organizing committee will call for the entry of feature film projects and draft scripts from the finalists, and select about 6 projects to enter the “Development Workshop” of this Phase. Senior film workers will be invited as mentors to provide in-depth targeted guidance on script, development, casting, etc. for the shortlisted projects. And they will select 1-2 projects as the finalists for the SIFF Project in the following year.

SIFF NEXT 2020 Phase I
Director | Screenwriter | Producer
February 15 – March 15, 2020
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