Great cinematic times reflects the love for “Home • Land”
This year, the Beijing International Film Festival (BJIFF) is going into its ninth year. Nine years can’t be counted as a long segment in the 70-year history of new China, but is of increasingly great significance in terms of quantity and quality of the film. Along with tremendous changes in Chinese films industry over the past nine years, the BJIFF has also gone through different stages of development – start from a high-end base, improvement in a great stride, compliance with international standards, and upgrading on all fronts. In the important year to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, the BJIFF operates activities centering on the theme of Home • Land to pass on core values. In addition to reviewing each and every single step to pioneer and keep forging ahead in China’s film industry, it also shows great social changes and ever-changing societal landscape since the founding of the People’s Republic of China.
In accordance with the tenet of “Share the Screen, Shape the Future”, the BJIFF highlights the benefitting presence of China as a major nation, advocating the core concept of “Beauty in Variety, Harmony in Diversity” to honor the excellent traditional culture of China for thousands of years. It aims to be a window to showcase Chinese history and culture and the spirit of the times, so as to promote Chinese civilization and pool the strength of the whole country.
In the Beijing Film Panorama open to the public, a great number of classic movies produced since the founding of the People’s Republic of China will be screened, such as Romance on Lushan Mountain, Xiao Hua, The Shaolin Temple, Peacock, Dream Weavers: Beijing 2008, The Founding of a Republic, Hold Your Hands, among others. They record the growth of New China and make people be astonished at the passage of time. These films chronologically reflect the history of filming, with distinct flavors of the times. Among them, there is no shortage of excellent films that set records in the history of Chinese films. For example, Romance on Lushan Mountain, premiered in the Romance in Lushan Cinema in Jiangxi Province on July 12th, 1980, continues to be screened there till today, making it the one screened for the longest time in a single cinema worldwide; The Shaolin Temple, which was released in 1982, wrote a legend that the number of people watching the movie reached 500 million even in the era when the viewing atmosphere was not as strong as it is now. In the Out-of-Competition Section, films like The Founding of a Republic and Peacock are on the agenda of screening, which represent the retrospect and thoughts of contemporary Chinese filmmakers on Chinese history. Together, the historical and current narratives constitute a spectacular picture of the history of new China.
This year's Tiantan Award selection, while giving priority to professionalism, also mirrors the common feelings of people’s love for the family and country. Since its inception in 2013, the Tiantan Award has been focusing on the latest films with the highest quality and that best reflect current creation trends. This year’s Tiantan Award received 775 entries from 85 countries and regions in all, featuring a wider geographical range, increased quantity, richer types, more diversified styles and better quality compared to 659 entries from 71 countries and regions in previous editions. The domestic films that are shortlisted every year almost represent the highest level of the Chinese films at that moment, and express the feelings of the filmmakers aligned with the theme of “Home • Land”. Among the 15 shortlisted films this year, there are three domestic films, namely, The Composer, The Wandering Earth and The Eleventh Chapter, all of which take on a new look of Chinese films, whether from the perspective of production quality or production industry. The composition of this year’s Jury of Tiantan Award, a combination of outstanding filmmakers at home and abroad, is a reflection to the characteristic style of the BJIFF: Master, Mass, Market. All this reflects not only the new look of Chinese films and Chinese society, but also the cultural confidence of Chinese films standing among the filmdom worldwide.
Enabling the industry to keep pace with the development of “Home • Land”
In 2018, the annual box office gross revenue across the country surpassed 60 billion yuan (60.97 billion yuan) for the first time, of which the Chinese films totaled 37.897 billion yuan, accounting for 62.15% of the market share, an increase of 8.31 percentage points over 2017. In 2019, the Chinese film market continues to grow at a high speed, as evident in that it only took 40 days to garner over 10 billion yuan in box office at the beginning of the year.
The prosperity of the Chinese film market would not be possible without the prosperity of the entire society. As a key cultural industry of the country, the film has made significant contributions to the national economy, and in turn its development also benefits from the development of the entire society. With increasingly developed economy and more open mindset in culture, the film industry has also made headway. For this year’s Beijing International Film Festival, the former "Film Market" has been renamed "Beijing Film Market" to underline the driving role and influence of Beijing in the Chinese film market. Targeting key enterprises, major international cooperation projects, producers, distributors, and investment institutions at home and abroad, the Beijing Film Market features the Exhibition, Copyright Trading, Project Pitches, Industry Conversations, Events & Activities, Contract Signing Ceremony and more, with a focus on building the three major transaction platforms of Film Factor, Project Pitches and Copyright Trading. The results of these initiatives are reflected not only in every transaction, but also in the connectivity of various resources in the film industry, thus building an important bridge for the sustainable, stable development of the entire industry in the future.
As the film industry witnesses rapid development, we should think more about how to achieve a sound, orderly and sustainable development of this industry in alignment with the development of “Home • Land”. The film industry should shift from an extensive model that emphasizes scale and speed to a more intensive one emphasizing quality and efficiency so as to improve efficiency and promote vitality. This year, the BJIFF will be upgraded in all aspects such as scale, content and performance, and open six major forums, two more than previous editions, to boost the film industry from different perspectives. The Chinese Films Forum for the 70th Anniversary year of the People's Republic of China will look back on the development of Chinese film since the founding of the People's Republic of China, aiming to make further progress in the future based on the past experience. The Arthouse Film Forum will discuss the topics related to the creation and promotion of Chinese art films, such as how to better help art filmmakers in production, and how to make more people watch their works. As for the International Digital Cinema Technology Forum, it is a platform designed for film technology practitioners to communicate with each other. The International Film Market Forum, bringing together cinema managers and film promoters, will discuss the development of the film market. And the Internet Film Theme Forum, with a focus on the era of Internet, will discuss how to seize opportunities and cope with challenges in the film industry so as to bring the industrial development to a higher level via the Internet. In addition, the China-India Film Co-Production Dialogue will become a new platform for dialogue and exchanges between the film industries in China and India.
Meanwhile, the BJIFF will continue to support young creators. With a focus on young filmmakers, the Forward Future Section pays more attention to the new energy from the film industry, especially in film screening and award selection. The Beijing Film Market is always a strong champion of young filmmakers. A multitude of new comers stepped on the stage of the film industry starting from the Project Pitches of this Market. The 9th BJIFF has also invited some outstanding young directors from previous Project Pitches to share their experience in creation. Among various theme activities, there are always small sections for young creators, such as Young Filmmakers Training Program and Youth Online Film & MV Screening, which are a testament to the fact that the BJIFF attaches great importance to young force in the industry. Youth represents the future because it will be the new driver for Chinese films. A long-term view is required so that we can make deeper and sustainable headway in the development of the film industry in keeping with the whole era and future development trends. In this way, we can make great contributions to building a better and stronger “Home • Land”.
Toward the world, “Home • Land” connects you and me
As a response to General Secretary Xi Jinping's call of “actively promoting the construction of an open world economy and building a community of shared future for mankind”, the Beijing International Film Festival has launched a series of activities to promote international cultural exchanges to deepen mutual understanding between China and the world. In addition to the China-India Film Co-Production Dialogue, a great number of events at the BJIFF have also invited excellent filmmakers from all over the world to share their experience in different industry processes such as film production and distribution. “Why & How” Arthouse Film Forum, which has invited French director Xavier Legrand and Sid Ganis, Vice President of Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, will have dialogue and exchanges in the forms of speech, salon and others.
A prosperous country is a precondition for a prosperous family. It is the theme “Home • Land” that connects you and me to have shared future. This year’s BJIFF, with a focus on advancing the development of the film industry at the macro level, also desires to benefit the people with culture, aligning with the theme of “Home • Land” in details.
This year’s Beijing Film Panorama gets closer and provides more convenience to movie fans in ticketing, distribution of locations and schedule. The ticket grabbing session of the Beijing Film Panorama has always been what the fans concern. They will complete all the preparations like forwarding, making ticket snap-up plan, and scheduling before the announcement of screening schedule. Right after the tickets were available on the official platform Taopiaopiao, the Beijing Film Panorama secured a record 2 million yuan at box office in the first minute and 3 million in the first two minutes. Among the films, the tickets of 2001: A Space Odyssey were sold out in five seconds, hitting the fastest record in the history of the BJIFF. This is all long a legend of the Beijing Film Panorama, and a lot of fans would request more tickets. At the request of the audience, we developed a method of ticket sales – the “second-round ticketing” in order to stagger the peak time of purchase.
Nearly 500 films, 16 sections, 30 commercial, art & college cinemas and 15-day screening all these figures reflect the efforts of the BJIFF to benefit the public.
In addition, the Film Carnival is also a grand event for the mass. Themed “Prosperity & Harmony, Light and Shadow of Huairou”, this year's film festival is composed of 27 events in six sectors, including Light and Shadow of Century, Film Technology Experience, Folk Film & TV Scenes, Film &TV Role Cruise, Film Art Palace and Film-inspired Food. Visitors can enjoy films by various means like VR, 3D printing tools and film technology interactive devices, as well as the foods and music occurring in different films.
The 9th BJIFF, themed “Home • Land”, aims to provide more cultural benefits and opportunities on film appreciation and experience, promote the development of film industry, and build a bridge for filmmakers to deal with the difficulties and pain spots in film making and publicity by means like salons and forums. Meanwhile, it is also dedicated to demonstrating the history of China’s film industry after the founding of New China in different forms like film panorama and industry communication, and enhancing the exchanges for the filmmakers all over the world. With the theme of “Home • Land” in mind, the BJIFF will never stop in improving its authority, brand influence, internationality, inclusiveness and sharing extent and strive to make greater contributions to building Beijing into the Capital of Film & TV with international clout and in the process of China upgraded to a great powerhouse in terms of film.