Shanghai International Film Festival Holds Reception in Berlin
Emir Kusturica is an internationally celebrated director. His feature debut Do You Remember Dolly Bell? (1981) won Best First Work Award at that year’s Venice Film Festival. Four years later, his second feature When Father Was Away on Business earned him his first Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, as well as an Academy Award nomination for Best Foreign Language Film. Since then, Emir Kusturica has continued to make highly regarded films that have been well acclaimed at Venice, Cannes and Berlin International Film Festivals. In 1995, with the black comedy Underground, Emir Kusturica won the Palme d’Or for the second time.
A Review of 2015 and the 18th SIFF
While the Chinese film market continues to impress the world with big box office numbers and future growth potential, the 18th Shanghai International Film Festival in 2015 received a record 2,096 entries from 108 countries. In just nine days, 391 foreign and domestic films were shown in 45 cinemas on 51 screens. A total number of 1,275 screenings attracted more than 300,000 audience visits. World famous actors and actresses like Sophie Marceau, Rosamund Pike and Jackie Chan were in attendance at the events. Other than the film screenings, SIFF also held 80 Q&As to provide a platform for filmmakers to share their stories with the audience and to promote interaction between industry professionals and moviegoers.
Last year, the 18th Shanghai International Film Festival restructured its framework to introduce more energy and creativity. Two new competitions were set under Golden Goblet Award, which are for documentary and animation. In another exciting change, SIFF also introduced a nomination system for the “Asian New Talent Awards”, which include “Best Picture”, “Best Director”, “Best Actor”, “Best Actress”, “Best Screenplay” and “Best Cinematography”. SIFF also introduced the 1st annual “Internet Film Carnival” as a platform to cultivate up-and-coming online film/TV talents and high-quality IPs, and also to introduce and stimulate the rapidly developing online film industry. Finally, SIFF also launched the 1st annual “Jackie Chan Action Movie Week” in 2015. Initiated as a joint venture between the world famous action movie star Jackie Chan and SIFF, “Jackie Chan Action Movie Week” aims to promote action movies not only by commending filmmakers who have made outstanding contributions to action movies, but also by recognizing new talents in the Chinese action film industry.
Talking about SIFF’s development in the past few years, Benoit Ginisty, FIAPF Managing Director, fully acknowledge the positive influence of Shanghai International Film Festival. He believes the growth of SIFF will provide a solid platform for the rapid development of Chinese film market.
Building Collaboration on an International Scale
In 2016, the 19th Shanghai International Film Festival will build on its collaboration with the Tokyo International Film Festival and Busan International Film Festival. According to Fu Wenxia introduction, SIFF recommended three feature films to the Tokyo International Film Festival in 2015, Young Love Lost was selected for the “Asian Future” section, River and The Ark of Mr. Chow was selected for the “World Focus” section. In the future, SIFF will also strengthen its collaboration with the Toronto International Film Festival and Venice Film Festival by recommending high quality features and outstanding filmmakers.
Yasushi Shiina, Director General of the Tokyo International Film Festival, noted, “the collaboration between Shanghai and Tokyo was very fruitful. When working together, the two festivals will make more contribution to Asian film industry.”
During this year’s film festival, SIFF will present “Shakespeare on Film - Shakespeare’s 400th Anniversary Film Screenings” with the British Film Institute and British Council to celebrate Shakespeare 400 years after his death. The “Shakespeare on Film” screening program is a collection of classic British adaptations of Shakespeare’s works on the big screen that spans over 100 years. Famous Shakespearean actor, Ian McKellen, best known for playing ‘Gandalf’ in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, will attend the Shanghai International Film Festival’s opening ceremony on June 11th and take part in a special on-stage event on June 12th to discuss his film Richard III (1995), starring McKellen in the leading role and co-adapted by himself and Director Richard Loncraine.
Market Expansion and New Project Development
China box office sales reached over RMB 44 billion in 2015, marking a growth of 49% over the same period last year. Over the past ten years, the exponential growth of the Chinese film market has cemented its status as one of the most energetic and valuable film markets in the world. Meanwhile, the Shanghai International Film Festival has made tremendous contributions to fostering communication and collaboration between the local and foreign film industries.
A decade ago, the SIFF Project Market was officially launched. Since then, the Project Market has become a platform to facilitate collaboration, financing and promotion of both domestic productions and cross-border co-productions. It supported the development of major films such as The Master, 12 Citizens, Nezha and Black Coal, Thin Ice, as well as other features that were highly recognized by both film festivals and audiences alike.
Renowned novelist and screenwriter Yan Geling, who was the jury for SIFF Project Market in 2009, hope that SIFF will discover more young talents and inspire them to create more good movies.
The director of Crosscurrent Yang Chao said Shanghai is “the capital of magic”. He started the filming of Crosscurrent in Shanghai four years ago. He welcomes more people to visit Shanghai and believes they will find many amazing and beautiful things about cinema and china.
Crosscurrent was selected to the main competition program in this year’s Berlin International Film Festival.
New Film Policies Offer New Opportunities
Since the Shanghai Municipal Government first announced its "Shanghai Film Policies” in October 2014, the local film industry has shown dramatic progress. Currently, Bona Film Group Limited, Pegasus Motion Pictures Limited, YooZoo Pictures, Alpha Animation, Mili Pictures, Taomee Network & Technology and other private-owned entertainment companies have established operations in Shanghai with a number of high-quality projects. Ip Man 3, which was initiated in Shanghai and supported by the Shanghai Film Industry Development Fund, was presented by Shanghai MingYi Pictures Studio and received eight nominations at the 35th Hong Kong Film Awards. Kung Fu Panda 3, which was co- produced by Oriental DreamWorks and DreamWorks Animation, was released on January 29th, and was extremely well-received.
In November 2015, the Shanghai Municipal Government formally published the implementation plan of " Shanghai Film Policies”. It includes a number of subsidy and support policies to promote the film industry’s development in Shanghai, from financing to filming, post-production to distribution, and also the development of new cinemas. It is clear that the government is aiming to create the best possible environment for the local film industry. Of course, the hope is also to attract international talents and industry players to set up operations in Shanghai.