“SIFF Presents” at Jameson CineFest Miskolc International Film Festival – First Stop of the Belt and
In its 15th edition running from September 14 to 23 this year, Jameson CineFest Miskolc International Film Festival in Hungary held the “SIFF Presents” program for the first time. “SIFF Presents” marked the first stop of the BELT AND ROAD FILM TOUR which Shanghai International Film Festival (SIFF) launched this autumn, and included three new Chinese films in its program recommended by SIFF: Girls Always Happy, Kill the Shadow and She. Therein, Girls Always Happy has also been shortlisted in the Main Competition. On September 21st, Jameson CineFest Miskolc International Film Festival threw a cocktail party to celebrate the wrap-up of the program. Shanghai International Film Festival delegation, representatives of the three films and local guests were invited. Mr. János Kiss, Deputy Mayor of the City of Miskolc gave a toast: “The three Chinese films recommended by Shanghai International Film Festival have brought to us the vivid and dynamic life in contemporary China. I believe that Chinese films will soon be seen in more international cinemas across the world.”
János Kiss, Deputy Mayor of the City of Miskolc (4th to the left), Tibor Bíró, President of Jameson CineFest Miskolc
International Film Festival (3rd to the left), along with SIFF delegation and filmmakers of the three films in “SIFF Presents” program
Hungary is the first European country signing the Belt and Road intergovernmental cooperation document with China. In recent years, Jameson CineFest Miskolc International Film Festival has also established a friendly cooperation relation with the Shanghai International Film Festival: last year, Jameson CineFest Miskolc International Film Festival signed the Belt and Road Film Culture Exchange Cooperation Agreement with SIFF; in April this year, the first Chinese Film Week was held in Miskolc though joint efforts from both parties; then in June, this film festival became one of the first members of the Belt and Road Film Festival Alliance founded during Shanghai International Film Festival. Miskolc is a major film production center in Hungary where film-viewing has been a long time tradition among local citizens. To meet audiences’ expectations and strengthen the Belt and Road exchange, the two film festivals agreed to hold a “SIFF Presents” program at Jameson CineFest Miskolc International Film Festival this year so as to deepen their cooperation within the Belt and Road Film Festival Alliance framework.
János Kiss, Deputy Mayor of the City of Miskolc, gave a toast in the cocktail party for ”SIFF Presents” program
Tibor Bíró, President of Jameson CineFest Miskolc International Film Festival, said in his speech at the celebration party: “In June this year, we recommended films from Hungary to Shanghai International Film Festival; Now, Shanghai International Film Festival has also brought the Chinese films here. This new cooperation has provided more opportunities for the film industry and young filmmakers in both countries. I expect that the future will witness a continuous growth of such cooperation.” Shen Jianwen, representative of the Shanghai International Film Festival delegation, mentioned in his speech: “This year, the Belt and Road Film Festival Alliance was established in June in Shanghai. And this time, ”SIFF Presents” program at Jameson CineFest Miskolc International Film Festival presents Chinese film culture as well as the life and emotions of Chinese people in Hungary, and the Hungarian audience got to know a more vigorous China.” János Kiss, Deputy Mayor of the City of Miskolc, delivered an enthusiastic speech: “In recent years, Shanghai International Film Festival has successively introduced Chinese films to Europe. This time, it has enabled Hungarian audiences to know more Chinese films and filmmakers, paving a new way for film culture cooperation between the two countries and further promoting the communication and interaction between the two festivals. The three Chinese films recommended by Shanghai International Film Festival have brought to us the vivid and dynamic life in contemporary China. I believe that Chinese films will soon be seen in more international cinemas across the world.”
Representatives of Shanghai International Film Festival presented photos of the Belt and Road Film Festival Alliance
Signing Ceremony to Tibor Bíró, President of Jameson CineFest Miskolc International Film Festival.
On the afternoon of September 21, Girls Always Happy was put on the screen in the theater which was almost full with audiences. Before the screening, producer Yang Jing of the film gave a brief introduction, which immediately aroused everyone’s interest. And all audiences were deeply attracted by the film upon screening. The film revolves around the emotional life of a single mother and her daughter living in a Hutong of Beijing, and depicts the individual life silhouette in contemporary Chinese society with a unique perspective. It features both a strong living atmosphere and the power of tenderness, intriguing audiences. In the question and answer session after the screening, audiences raised various questions concerning the film’s production cost, the living environment of Hutong, the handling of mother-daughter conflicts, the conflicting attitudes of the two generations, and even about what kind of woman the the director-actress Yang Mingming is. Yang Jing’s sincere and confident answers won warm applause from time to time.
A full house for the screening of Girls Always Happy
Yang Jing, Producer of Girls Always Happy communicated with film critics and audiences after the screening.
Due to the different cultural backgrounds, there are still some obstacles for Hungarian audiences to understand the stories told by Chinese films. Kill the Shadow, screened following Girls Always Happy, is the feature film debut by the 28-year-old young director Sun Liang. The film portraits the complex soul journey of contemporary youth through the self-examination approach in the overlapping and parallel of dream and reality. The implicit storyline and the novel story-telling method were so fascinating that no one left midway. When the film ended, dozens of audiences stayed in the cinema and asked director Sun Liang and producer Zhao Kaiwen various questions, showing a strong willingness to understand the value orientation of contemporary Chinese youth through the interpretation of the story. One audience said during the question session: “The people and things in the film reflect the changes that are taking place in China’s society. We can have emotional exchanges and communication with the characters on the screen in the cinema, which is exactly what we have expected.” Perhaps, these words also tell why the local audiences focus on Chinese films.
Director Sun Liang (second from right) and producer Zhao Kaiwen (second from left) interacted with audiences after screening.
Exhibited on September 19, the animated feature film She, nominated for SIFF’s Golden Goblet Award for Best Animation Film this year, also enjoyed wide popularity among enthusiastic audiences. Though there is no dialogue in the film, the audio-visual narrative is lucid enough for foreign audiences to understand. The film’s co-producer Jin Huiyan said: “There was originally no Q&A session, but after the screening, many audiences chose to stay hoping to communicate with the filmmakers. They all thought it was a very good film which enabled them to understand and feel across culture barriers more easily. Some audiences even asked when they could watch the next work of director Zhou Shengwei?”
Jin Huiyan, Co-producer of She communicated with audiences after thescreening.
On September 18 and 19, the SIFF Belt and Road Film Tour also held the first market demonstration event during Kyiv Media Week in Ukraine, attracting various local film and television organizations and participating ones from other countries. The FILM.UA GROUP, Ukrainian TV Station and Kyiv Plyami TV Station also invited representatives of the Shanghai International Film Festival to conduct field visits and cooperation negotiations.