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The Beijing International Film Festival is about to initiate a “New Decade” and the 11th session will be held in Beijing from August 14 to August 21, 2021. On July 15, the Organizing Committee of the 11th Beijing International Film Festival (BJIFF) hosted the press conference and announced that the theme of this session is “New Opportunity · New Horizon”.
Under the guidance of China Film Administration, the 11th Beijing International Film Festival is hosted by China Media Group and People’s Government of Beijing Municipality, and organized by Beijing Municipal Film Administration, Beijing Municipal Radio and Television Bureau, Beijing Radio & Television Station, and Huairou District People’s Government of Beijing Municipality. On the day of the press conference, those present include Wang Lu, Convener of the Film and Television Translation Production Center of China Media Group, Deputy Secretary-General of the Organizing Committee of the 11th BJIFF; Yu Junsheng, Deputy Director-General of Communication Department of Beijing Municipal Committee of the Communist Party of China, Secretary of Party Leadership Group and President of Beijing Radio & Television Station, Vice Chairman & Secretary-General of the Organizing Committee of the 11th BJIFF; Wang Jiequn, Deputy Director of the Beijing Municipal Committee of the Communist Party of China and Director of the Beijing Municipal Film Administration, Vice Chairman & Secretary-General of the Organizing Committee of the 11th BJIFF; Xu Tao, Deputy Chief Editor of Beijing Radio & Television Station and Executive Deputy Secretary-General of the Organizing Committee of the 11th BJIFF; Zhang Xiaoguang, Deputy Head of the China Film Archive, Deputy Director of the China Film Art Research Center and Deputy Secretary-General of the Organizing Committee of the 11th BJIFF; Yu Deli, Director of Cultural Industry Development Promotion Center of Huairou District, Party Secretary of Yangsong Town, Huairou District, Beijing.
2021 marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of Communist Party of China. Revolving around the celebration of the said event, the 11th BJIFF also makes it its major theme. Drawing on the experience of hosting “Online BJIFF” in 2020, the 11th BJIFF adopts a combination of online and offline events to contribute “Beijing’s Plan” that can meet the cultural needs of the public at home, facilitate the communication and enhance the influence worldwide externally, thus bringing about the transformation and upgrading of BJIFF in the new decade.
■15 domestic and foreign masterpieces shortlisted for Tiantan Award, Gong Li, Chen Kun, Chen Zhengdao, Renny Harlin, Nadine Labaki, Wuershan, and Zhang Songwen constitute the jury
Being an important part of the 11th BJIFF, the shortlisted films of the “Tiantan Award” boast their own highlights, including the latest works by heavyweight directors worldwide and marvelous films by new directors, and several films to be premiered.
The Organizing Committee of the 11th BJIFF has solicited outstanding films produced after January 1, 2020 worldwide, with 12 foreign films and 3 domestic films shortlisted. Specifically, they are: Chinese film All About My Mother, Finnish film Any Day Now, Japanese film A Morning of Farewell, Argentine film A School in Cerro Hueso, Russian film A Siege Diary, Chinese film Before Next Spring, Chinese film Beyond the Skies, Swiss-German co-produced film Caged Birds, Russian-Estonian-UK-Italian co-produced film Conference, Indian-French co-produced film Last Film Show, Australian film Moon Rock for Monday, French-Côte d’Ivoire-Canadian-Senegalese co-produced film Night of the Kings, Romanian film No Rest for the Old Lady, French-Belgian co-produced film Slalom, Danish film The Pact.
These shortlisted films constitute a splendid and eclectic audio-visual feast, building a bridge of communication and thereby facilitating the cooperation and exchanges among films at home and abroad.
Recently, the 11th BJIFF has made the official announcement that Gong Li would chair this year’s jury of the “Tiantan Award”. Once the news was released, it provoked heated discussions at home and abroad, and thereby helped build up sufficient expectations. At this press conference, the other six members of the Jury of Tiantan Award were also made public: actor Chen Kun, director Chen Zhengdao, director Renny Harlin, director Nadine Labaki, director Wuershan, actor Zhang Songwen.
■Eleven events feature innovations and diversity, and the opening ceremony creates an extraordinary image of the international film festival
The main events of the 11th BJIFF boasts richness, diversity and creativity, including the Tiantan Award, Opening Ceremony and Red Carpet, Beijing Film Panorama, Forward Future Section, Theme Forum, Workshop & Masterclass, Beijing Film Market, Film Carnival, Closing & Awards Ceremony, Beijing College Student Film Festival and the “Film+”.
Specifically, Opening Ceremony and Red Carpet will see the addition of fashion shoot, creative short videos, “starlight moments” shooting, KOL live-streaming, and “Brands Help Chinese Movies” live-streaming for the public benefits. As a result, invitations will be extended to key crews, old artists, industry guests, Peking Opera film crews, and crews featuring Winter Olympics, representatives of key projects of Huairou Film & Television Industry Park and the responsible persons of the film industry, etc., who will show up in different groups.
The dazzling Opening Ceremony and the upgrade of various activities will fully promote the development of China’s film industry. Special efforts will be made to display the glorious development of Chinese films over the century since the founding of the Party, with a view to the promotion of Chinese stories and the expression of Chinese voices around the globe, in the region and targeting different groups, while striving to create a new and extraordinary image of an international film festival.
■ “Beijing Film Market” to launch BJIFF TALENTS and Academy Day for the first time
The “Beijing Film Market” of the 11th BJIFF will include six major sections including Exhibition, Project Pitches, Market Screenings, Industry Conversation, Events & Activities, and Contract Signing Ceremony. With BJIFF TALENTS and Academy Day to be launched for the first time this year, the Closing Ceremonies will witness the revelation of outstanding projects in Project Pitches.
Meanwhile, the Beijing International Film Festival has made further efforts in digital technology. Specifically, it has comprehensively relied on big data, cloud computing, artificial intelligence algorithms and other technological means to promote the digitalized upgrade of the three major transaction platforms of film factors, project pitches, and film copyright. From the online perspective, digital means such as cloud connection, remote transactions, and video conferences are adopted to provide guests and media with a better immersive experience of online participation.
■Theme Forum, Workshop & Masterclass make up a high-end film festival
“Theme Forum”. Six theme forums will be held this year, with rich and pragmatic themes. In addition to celebrating the centenary birthday of the Party, the said themes will highlight content creation, film capital development, overseas distribution, virtual production, animation creation, among other directions, based on industry trends and cutting-edge trends in the past two years.
The 11th BJIFF will also release a series of research results and industry reports concerning film investment and financing, film marketing, art film screenings, etc., to give play to its scientificness, leadership, and authority.
The Workshop & Masterclass will feature four sessions, when well-known filmmakers are invited to share the experience and cutting-edge concepts of film creators.
■The poster theme is “Make Concerted Efforts to Create Light”, paying tribute to the filmmakers and conveying faith
At the great historical moment of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China, the 11th BJIFF embraces a greater sense of mission and responsibility.
This year’s poster theme is “Make Concerted Efforts to Create Light”, and the design features the core element of last year’s poster – windmill projector. With blades turning and the lights on, the curtain is slowly opening. Above the windmill, a team of filmmakers are working there, including the director, cameramen, lighting staff, recording staff, script supervisor, makeup artists… and the Great Wall, Red Building of Peking University and Beijing swifts hovering in the sky emerge behind the curtains.
Movies are the art that people “Make Concerted Efforts to Create Light”. The theme posters pay tribute not only to all filmmakers making contributions in their own ways, but also to viewers who walk into the theater and spend time seeing the movies.
The Great Wall, Red Building of Peking University and the swifts hovering in the sky deliver profound messages. As a significant symbol of the Chinese nation, the Great Wall embodies the constant vitality of Chinese national spirits. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China. Peking University is the center of the New Culture Movement and it is where the May Fourth Movement was planned and launched. Besides, it is an important place for the early spread of Marxism in China and a historical witness to the early revolutionary activities of the Communist Party of China in Beijing. The red color of the Red Building of Peking University, and the long Great Wall symbolize the DNA of the Communist Party of China, and strength of Chinese national spirits. Being the most beautiful life in the summer sky of Beijing, swifts are the most loyal witnesses to this city. The use of these three elements demonstrates the sacred mission of film art as it can remember history and convey faith, leading the viewers from where the seeds were planted in history to where they can see a glorious future.
■”Beijing Film Panorama” takes place outside Beijing for the first time with exclusive discounts for film fans
Concerning the main activities of the Beijing International Film Festival, the “Beijing Film Panorama” undoubtedly witnesses the greatest anticipation among fans. For this year’s “Beijing Film Panorama”, it not only witnesses restoration of the screening scale, but also sees screening theaters in Tianjin and Zhangjiakou for the first time.
“Beijing Film Panorama” will select nearly 250 excellent Chinese and foreign films, which will be screened in 32 partner cinemas. In terms of screening program planning, “Beijing Film Panorama” not only restores the classic sections, but also sticks to the theme sections set up last year, based on celebrating the 100-year glorious history of the Communist Party of China and the upcoming 2022 Winter Olympics in the capital city of Beijing.
“Beijing Film Panorama” in 2021 will set up the sections below:
First of all, the highly anticipated shortlisted films of “Tiantan Award” and all competing films of “Forward Future” will all be available to the public during the screening period, and everyone can view the selected films in the competition section for the first time.
“Special Exhibition: Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the Founding of the Communist Party of China” section: screening 15 domestic films that record the glorious history of the Communist Party of China in the past century;
“Special Exhibition: Ice & Snow – Winter Olympics” section: screening of domestic sports-themed movies showing the charm of ice sports;
“President of the Jury” section: screening a group of representative works starring Gong Li, the chairman of the jury of “Tiantan Award”, from her career in the film industry;
The “Restored Classics” section is widely popular among movie fans and showcases the world’s cutting-edge film restoration technology. It will witness the screening of immortal masterpieces such as Ace in the Hole, An Autumn’s Tale and The Mirror;
The “Tribute to the Movie Stars” section will witness the screening of The Wages of Fear starring Yves Montand and Les Diaboliques starring Simone Signoret among others. the “Master Review” section will provide fans with an opportunity to have a systematic review of films starring Charlie Chaplin, Krzysztof Kieslowski and other international film masters;
The “Famous Filmmakers” section recommends representative works of Chinese and foreign filmmakers such as Chen Li, Céline Sciamma, Miao Yue, and Chui Mui Tan among others;
The “Franchises” section will witness the screening of the classic series of film history, letting movie fans have a blast.
This year, a number of classic sections of the “Beijing Film Panorama” will also come back: “Animation IS Film” section will screen the familiar works of Studio Ghibli and Toei Animation; the “Truth First” section will feature Mr. Bachmann and His Class and Epicentro among other brilliant documentaries around the globe; The “Theatre Live” displays the world’s latest shows on stage, displaying a variety of art forms on the big screen.
“The Power of Chinese” section showcasing outstanding Chinese masterpieces, the “Global View” section bringing together outstanding new films worldwide, the newly established “Women’s Voice” and “Outlook” sections in 2020, and the highly sought-after “VR Beijing” section will continue to screen masterpieces worldwide.
The list of participating studios is as follows in alphabetical order: Beijing Oriental Plaza Broadway Cinema, Broadway Cinematheque, MOMA, Poly International Cinema, Tiananmen, Beijing, Poly International Cinema (China Science and Technology Museum), Beijing Geological Hall, Beijing Hoyts Cinema, Hopson One, Beijing Theatre, Beijing Tianqiao Performing Arts Center, Beijing Wanda Cinema, Beijing Huairou Wanda Cinema, Beijing Tongzhou Wanda Cinema, Beijing Yanqing Wanda Cinema, Beijing Womei Cineplex, Worldcity, CGV XINGXING international CINEMA, INDIGO Beijing FOURSQUARE (Beijing Jintang Shopping Center), Huaxia Cinema (Huanyuhui Branch), Lumiere Pavilions Fangcaodi, Lumiere Pavilions (IMAX) LongforChangying Paradise Walk Shopping Center, MEGABOX (Sanlitun), Shenying International Cinema, Xueyuannanlu, the Capital Cinema in Xidan Shop, New Colourful Clouds Cinema, UME International Cineplex (Huaxing), UME International Cineplex (Shuangjing), Emperor Cinemas, Emperor Group Center, Yingjia International Cinema, China National Film Museum, China Film Archive Art Cinema, Inside-out Cinema, ZYED CINEMA, CGV XINGXING international CINEMA (Tianjin Binhai), and Jinshi International Cinema (Zhangjiakou).
To give back to the vast number of movie fans, this year’s Beijing International Film Festival (BJIFF) cooperates in depth with the catering brand Xibei to bring special preferential activities for movie fans participating in the Beijing Film Panorama. Audiences who buy tickets for the offline screening can get exclusive coupons on the film ticket voucher to use in the nationwide stores
In addition, the “Beijing Film Panorama” of the 11th Beijing International Film Festival will also provide online exhibition, and cooperate with iQIYI, the exclusive partner of the Online BJIFF, to jointly launch about 60 domestic and foreign best films, including such sections as “Focus on Russian Film”, “Premieres” and “Online Film”.
■ The “Forward Future” Section focuses on potential filmmakers and films and infuses new forces into the international film industry
“Master’s Discourse” highlights the state and setup of the Beijing International Film Festival; in terms of encouraging newcomers, the “Forward Future” Section of the Festival will target new potential filmmakers and films, and invite heavyweight filmmakers at home and abroad to form an international jury of the Forward Future Section, which will award seven honors, including ” Most Popular Feature Film ” and
” Most Popular Director “. “To discover new talent in the international film industry with Chinese prospective, and to advocate artistic originality with the new world film trend”, the continuous establishment of the traditional section of the Beijing Film Festival is a very good “new opportunity” for all young directors in the international film industry.
■ “Film Carnival” is provided with night activities for the first time to drive the regional nighttime economy
This year’s carnival will be held from August 14 to 31 with the theme of “Scientific and Technological Innovation in Huairou, Pursuit of Film Dreams”. In addition to the State Production Base of China Film Group, several venues will be added for the first time, including the Flower Sea of the Film Town, and Deer World. A total of 46 interactive activities of film technologies will be launched. In particular, the biggest highlight of the event—the nighttime carnival will be launched for the first time to bring full play to the nighttime economy by means of “nighttime travel, entertainment, shopping and dining”.
Major activities of the carnival are as follows: at the Flower Sea of the Film Town, a series of activities including the opening ceremony of the carnival, film culture exhibition, film-themed blind date, interactive technology projection, and film-themed light show; at the State Production Base of China Film Group, real props of movies and unique statues of “workers, peasants and soldiers” can provide visitors with close sensory experience, and they can actually feel the characters and scenes in movies and TV dramas via the costume, makeup and props exhibition hall, and can be immersed in the romantic atmosphere through high-tech means offered in the snow set. The combination of the shooting location of the Yangtze River Delta and script role playing is well integrated with fantasy and historical drama elements; in the Deer World Theme Park, a number of family projects, such as kids’ talent show, colorful slides, Jurassic World Mini-train, and Cute Animal Farm, will be launched to create an immersive film-themed light show, providing a unique “Wonderful Night of Cute Animals”.
In addition, this carnival will provide in-depth interactive experiences such as outdoor screenings, web celebrity live streaming, performing arts commune and Cosplay competition so as to maximize the new urban lifestyle of audio, visual and play.
■ Expand the “circle of friends” of the film festival and highlight the international level
The Beijing Film Market of this year’s Beijing International Film Festival will set up the “Guest of Honor” section for the first time, which is ASEAN this time. In addition, national film weeks of Greece and Russia will be held for films and filmmakers from all over the world to participate in the festival, so as to further expand the “circle of friends” of the festival via films and filmmakers.
■ The “Film +” campaign will drive new industry pattern by crossing boundaries
The “Film +” activity during the 11th Beijing International Film Festival will add more new content and new ways of enjoying the film art; this year’s Beijing International Film Festival will create the “Samsung Short Mobile Film” section in collaboration with Samsung, so as to break the boundary of image and expand the dimension of creation. In addition to the “Samsung Short Mobile Film” section, the Organizing Committee will hold the Chinese Movie Marketing Meeting, Documentary Section, Science and Technology Section, Classical Peking Opera Film Section, Virtual Reality Section, Beijing Ethnic Film Festival, Online Film Section, Teenagers’ Science Movie Section, Game-Based Animated Films, Business Activities, Live Streaming E-commerce, Filmmaker Marathon, Script Game Carnival and other cross-border integration activities, giving full play to the unique role of film festivals in promoting relevant industries, serving the general public, promoting consumer economy, spreading scientific and technological innovation, and carrying forward traditional culture.
■ Upgrade “Online BJIFF” with iQIYI
The 10th Beijing International Film Festival and iQIYI jointly initiated the “Online BJIFF” model, which will be upgraded further this year. The feature page of “Online BJIFF” will be officially launched on iQIYI on August 8. It adopts the form of online and offline interaction, and breaks the time and space boundaries, so that users can freely watch the star-shimmering gala and the world’s best movies, listen to master speeches, watch the forefront of the industry forum, and enjoy the beautiful scenery of light and shadow free of time and space boundaries.
The 11th Beijing International Film Festival coincides with the intersection of the two centenary goals, and plans for the next decade based on Beijing’s position as a “National Cultural Center” and an “International Exchange Center”. It’s various innovative, inclusive and forward-looking measures have created a variety of communication platforms for filmmakers in the world, and it is expected to start a new era of “New Opportunity·New Horizon” for Chinese films and international films.
Alex Williams is an American journalist. He graduated from Occidental College with a BA. He later received an honorary Ph.D from Occidental College. Alex is known for his ten years as anchor and editor. Recently he is working on Bulletin Track.
Disclaimer: The views, suggestions, and opinions expressed here are the sole responsibility of the experts. No Bulletin Track journalist was involved in the writing and production of this article.