BJIFF Wrapped Up Together Again: Invitation for Future
Over 300 Chinese and foreign hits on screen, a total contract amount of 33.089 billion yuan and cutting-edge concepts of summits…the 10th Beijing International Film Festival (BJIFF) honored its "Ten-Year Promise" and first sounded the bugle for the rejuvenation of Chinese films before the end of the global pandemic, to present a spectacular film feast.
The 8-day event was wrapped up on August 29, but a new journey of dream has started. From this day, people will look forward to being together again next year, honoring the promise of being there over the next decade and working more miracles on the way ahead.
When Beijing encounters the film festival, when filmgoers meet desired films and when filmmakers go on the fast track of China, the BJIFF has seized the opportunity to become an international exchange platform for global film masters, as well as a sacred land for global film fans, showing its strong influence and appeal as the national film & television highland. The festival has released its unprecedented charm after a decade of development. It is the appeal that has brought filmmakers and fans together. During the festival, many people changed their WeChat Moments icons into its logo. The colorful windmill is just like a flying film dream, and the film is a gathering that never ends.
1. Special Program-Together Again: Restart with Dream
The "10th BJIFF Special Program-Together Again" opened with Over the Rainbow, the theme song of film The Wizard of Oz by Guan Xiaotong, Xu Weizhou, Zhang Xueying, Xiong Ziqi and Yi Liyuan. Composed of three chapters: "Together Again • Reunion and Love", "Together Again • Reunion and Departure" and "Together Again • Future Reunion", the program aroused Chinese filmmakers' aspiration to fulfill dreams, recorded the breakthrough of the 10th BJIFF and looked into the prosperous future of Chinese films.
Actor Zheng Kai took the stage first, voicing his thought on the festival, "More than witnessing history constantly in 2020, we are experiencing the insignificance and significance of life, as well as the warmth and breadth of trust every day…including films. As the light is up, life will no longer be gloomy. The 10th BJIFF lights us up. We are together, but still need to keep a distance. Yet we know memories of films bring us together."
In the first session of "Together Again"-"Time Cinema", Yong Mei, winner of the Silver Bear for Best Actress and renowned actress Tao Hong shared their favorite classics in a cinema scene, talked about emotions in films and voiced their eternal love for films. As filmmakers, they saluted the audience calling them intangible friends, and saluted projectionists, operators, cleaners, disinfectors, ticket collectors and shop assistants, all of whom have given their selfless love for films.
The second session of "Together Again" is a dialogue. Fu Ruoqing, Vice Chairman and General Manager of China Film Co., Ltd. and Chairman of Huaxia Film Distribution Co., Ltd., directors Stanley Tong and Lu Chuan came to the "lounge" to talk about the impact of the sudden COVID-19 outbreak on filmmakers this year.
Speaking of the post-epidemic era, they said a crisis is an opportunity. The epidemic has inevitably changed films and brought filmmakers together. After tiding over the hardship in 2020, Chinese filmmakers will fear no difficulties and Chinese films will have a bright future. "Following the epidemic, filmmakers will be more united and improve film quality greatly, only in this way we can repay the audience with masks." Tong said the epidemic caused reflections and filmmakers will settle down for creation. Fu said, "We lost the screen through which we face the world, but at the same time we have time to look into our inner world and focus on the return of emotions, and are more eager for an upgrade of mood."
In the third section of "Together Again"-meeting and imagination, many crew and cast members promoted their films on the spot. They are an epitome of the recovery of Chinese films. Some films are being shot and produced; some have been or are about to be scheduled for screening. Chinese filmmakers have worked hard, taken on heavy responsibility, given top priority to films and lived up to the good times. The crew and cast of Beyond Me, including director Han Bowen, presenter Ding Jing, producer Wang Lingji, as well as key actors and actresses-Zheng Kai, Li Yunrui, Cao Bingkun and Zhang Lanxin, took the stage. The film inspires you to keep running beyond yourselves to reach the destination.
Cheng Teng and Li Wei, directors of Legend of Deification, an animated film, hoped our generation would bring Chinese-style animation back to the peak.
Derek Hui, director of Coffee or Tea, said, "The young people in Coffee or Tea work hard to be what they want to be.
Zhang Ji, screenwriter of Leap, said, "If asked to describe this film with a word, that is ‘power'. It will give you power during the National Day holiday."
Chief Director Ning Hao and Chief Planner Zhang Yibai of My People, My Homeland were also present. They said the film records historical moments and national memories from the perspective of civilians. "Because we know, ordinary people keep this country moving whatever disasters and history we were through."
The three short films in the program presented the best memories of the 10th BJIFF. "Together Again • Reunion and Love" reviewed Online Screenings and Offline Screenings to show how films light up passion and dreams, reflect exploration and discovery, and rebuild the confidence of the world. Start in 2020 • Break Out + Keep Going records figures of Chinese filmmakers working hard to press ahead with dreams: the excitement of fans and staff about the reopening of cinemas; the scene of shooting resumption of Son of Mountain starring Guo Qiucheng, Shen Danping, Na Renhua and Guo Kaimin. "Together Again • Future Reunion" presented the video highlights of forums during the BJIFF, to display the cooperation and innovation, persistence and innovation, crossover and integration of Chinese films. Actress Yao Chen appeared last, presenting a song named Spring Blossoms along with the Angel Chorus, and sending an invitation for the future-Let's be together again at the 11th BJIFF.
2. Launch Ceremony and Two Special Programs Show Filmmakers' Feelings
The 10th BJIFF took place in Beijing from August 22 to 29. After standing the test of the epidemic, the festival was more tenacious and mature. It features an innovative model of online-offline integration, presents 10 theme forums, 4 workshop and masterclasses, 16 classes and the Project Pitches online for the first time, and breaks the barrier for offline audience access. The "Online BJIFF" broke the barriers of time and space, becoming a widely-acclaimed everlasting film & television feast.
The Launch Ceremony of the 10th BJIFF still embodies its sincerity and love in films, with which we can easily and quietly hear what the films say. Wu Jing said, "A real climber likes pressure." Zhang Yimou said, "There are more Chinese stories to be further told and told to the world." Chen Daoming said, "Never forget our purpose of taking up films". Their sincere words inspired Chinese filmmakers.
The two special programs of the BJIFF-"In Pursuit of a Shared Dream" and "Together Again" were ingeniously designed and impressive, warm and touching just like love letters between filmmakers. They narrate filmmakers' thoughts and perseverance in creation, express their firm confidence in the gradual recovery and prosperity of the industry, and envisage the hope of Chinese films with the good wish of "Together Again".
After being broadcast on Beijing Satellite TV, the program achieved a brilliant audience rating, ranking 5th and 6th among 35 provincial satellite TV stations.
Moreover, the Organizing Committee organized thematic activities such as A Photo Exhibition: "Decade · Moments", and Decade of Endeavor, Fulfillment of Aspirations—BJIFF Achievements Retrospective (BJIFF 10th Anniversary Exhibition) in cooperation with China National Film Museum. With a heart of gratitude, introspection and development, these activities will reflect on the interdependence between the BJIFF and Chinese films, the city of Beijing and movie fans, as well as the glorious progress of Chinese films over the past ten years, and witness the achievements the BJIFF has made through decade-long efforts.
3. Beijing Film Panorama – Outdoor Screenings as the Carrier of Love and Expectation
The Beijing Film Panorama is one of the most anticipated section at the BJIFF. For filmgoers, “to enjoy the world’s best films in Beijing” is the annual anticipation and time of pilgrimage for films.
This year’s Beijing Film Panorama is composed of four channels, namely Online Screenings, TV Screenings, Cinema Screenings and Outdoor Screenings. The Outdoor Screenings presented 24 Chinese and foreign classics and quality new films to arouse citizens’ memory on their love on films; and the charity screenings presented 500 screenings in 16 towns, townships and sub-districts in Huairou District.
During the Cinema Screenings, 17 cinemas in Beijing presented 100 films in 400 screenings to provide a feast for the eyes of filmgoers. The netizens from over 100 cities around the world enjoyed the films of BJIFF online, which was widely acclaimed by young audiences for the convenience and easy access.
The Beijing Film Panorama this year presented over 300 outstanding Chinese and foreign films, it consists of 12 sections: "Official Selection of the 10th BJIFF", "Restored Classics", "The Films of Éric Rohmer", "Long Live the Movie", "Outlook", "Women's Voice", "The Power of Chinese", "Global View", "Hit IMAX Theatres", "Franchises", "Outdoor Screenings" and "Online Sharing". New hits and classics appeared in all the sections. However, the meet-and-greet was more amazing for the sincere dialogues between cast & crew and audiences.
Audiences also expressed their love to films. On August 23, a girl played the original score of the film Cinema Paradiso in the end with harmonica while the audience was about to leaving the Hall 1 of the Beijing Jiayu Jinyi International Cinema City Co., Ltd. It was raining heavily then. But they stopped, listened to her performance and gave her the third round of applause after the movie. The speedy ticket-grabbing has become an “episode” for the BJIFF, on a par with the Spring Festival travel rush. Within just 10 minutes right after ticketing, 72% of the tickets have been sold out.
The Beijing Film Panorama this year provided Online Screenings. iQIYI, the exclusive online screening platform of the BJIFF, set a special section for about 250 films to be screened online, including a record some 50 Chinese and foreign new films at one go among domestic film festivals. As at 10 a.m. on August 29, the Online BJIFF registered 1.002 million clicks, 6.415 million views and 110 million promotions for the whole website in total. The opening film Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains was viewed by more than 10,000 audiences, ranking the top among the List of Surge and No.4 among the List of Hot.
For TV Screenings, 20 outstanding Chinese and foreign films were screened repeatedly on Beijing Satellite TV, BTV Movie & TV Channel and BTV Youth Channel. This was the first time for 10 out of them screened on domestic TV stations and films hit TV screens for the BJIFF.
Watching film is the best “romance”. The “Outdoor Screenings” set by the Organizing Committee lasted for eight days at the Inside-out Art Zone, Nanluo Bookstore, Maple Garden Drive-in Cinema and M•CUBE. The outdoor film started to gain its popularity since the 1970s, and now becomes the memory and carrier of love for several generations instead of a simple form of viewing. During the BJIFF, filmgoers enjoyed several domestic and foreign films like Looking for Fun, Shower, Undine and We Are X.
4. Workshop & Masterclasses Injected Vitality to Film Industry
On August 25, "Ang Lee Masterclass" of the 10th BJIFF took place, during which Ang Lee, a renowned director, screenwriter and producer from Taiwan, China, gave an online lecture entitled "Oriental Expression and Digital Technology", and exchanged views with Larry Yang, a young director and screenwriter; Gu Xiaogang, Director and screenwriter of Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains and the audience. His remarks inspired us a lot. He said: “Despite the huge impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the film industry, the film revolution might be advanced consequentially. The revolution requires concerted efforts and promotion of all the filmmakers.”
In addition, the workshop and masterclasses also invited Stanley Kwan, a director from Hong Kong, China, Jessica Hausner, an Austrian director, and Ellen Eliasoph, a professional filmmaker from the Motion Picture Association of America (MPA) to share their experience on career and life with filmgoers by various means.
Positioning at a high end, the 10th BJIFF invited a lot of masters to hold discussions and give advices for the development of Chinese films. At such a special time, the workshop and masterclasses of the BJIFF not only focused on exchanges of knowledge and experience, but also delivered inspirational power, which funneled wisdom, courage, determination and tenacity into the entire film industry.
5. High-end Forums Became the Beacon for the Film Industry
At the 10th BJIFF, the Organizing Committee also planned ten theme forums and invited 90 industrial leaders, renowned filmmakers, experts and scholars to deliver keynote speeches on the development of film industry and talk about the cutting-edge topics, which enhanced the popularity, reputation and communication of the BJIFF.
At the “Decade-long Devotion to Films—BJIFF 10th Anniversary Forum”, James Wang (Wang Zhonglei), Vice Chairman of Huayi Brothers Media Corp. delightedly announced that the Chinese films registered a global record at box office in the weekends of 2020, which proved the strong capability of Chinese filmmakers and rapid recovery of China's film market. Chen Sicheng said that filmmakers should think about how the pandemic has changed humanity; while director Lu Chuan expected to put inner feelings in the creation to let people know that Chinese filmmakers are not afraid of difficulties and will live up to the expectations of the industry.
At the “Sino-Foreign Film Co-Production Forum & Film Pitch”, Liu Chun, General Manager of China Film Co-production Corporation said that Chinese films have come to the stage at which self-change and self-improvement is required in the process of deepening Sino-foreign cooperation. According to Liu, China has signed inter-governmental film co-production agreements with 22 countries including the United Kingdom, France, Russia, New Zealand, Japan and India. From 2000 to the end of 2019, 244 Sino-foreign co-productions were completed and released, and there were 49 co-productions with box office receipts of over 100 million yuan in Chinese mainland.
At the “Development and Reform of Film in the Era of 5G”, the guests reached a consensus, stating that in the 5G era, filmmakers must take a deep dive into the new demand of the film industry at home and abroad for film technology during its development, as well as the application experience of emerging audio-visual technology and new generation of information technology and intelligent science and technology in the film industry, so as to facilitate the high-quality development of Chinese films in the new era, and allow 5G to power China’s transformation from a large film country into a film power.
At the “Summit on the Beauty of Film”, Rob Minkoff, director of The Lion King, said that the BJIFF offers a great opportunity to make the acquaintance of new friends and meet old friends again. No epidemic or other difficulties can hinder our sincere friendship and common humanity.”
Besides, at the “Chinese Film Industry Summit”, “Arthouse Film Forum”, “International Academic Forum on Cinematic Arts” and “Summit on the Development of Future Films”, speakers gave witty remarks and answers on hot topics. The BJIFF has become the observer and barometer of the film industry. It offers a platform for filmmaking professionals to have exchanges of thoughts and sharing of new knowledge.
6. Beijing Film Market Achieved Fruitful Results and Recorded A New High of Contracting Amount
The exchange platform of the BJIFF is of great significance for promotion the development of film & television industry and the construction of national cultural center. On August 28, the 10th BJIFF Beijing Film Market Contract Signing Ceremony took place at Beijing Radio & Television Station. A total of 21 key projects were signed with 46 companies on the site, and 110 projects were signed and released at the Beijing Film Market, with a total contract amount of 33.089 billion yuan, an increase of about 7 percent year-on-year, hitting a new record high.
Du Feijin, member of the Standing Committee and Director of the Publicity Department of Beijing Municipal Committee of the Communist Party of China and Executive Vice Chairman of the Organizing Committee of the 10th Beijing International Film Festival, made concluding remarks and affirmed the role of the Beijing Film Market like “magnet”. Over the past decade, based on the development of the film industry and with the theme of "display, promotion, exchange and transaction”, the “Beijing Film Market” has developed three platforms, namely “Film Factor Transaction Platform”, “Project Pitches Transaction Platform” and “Film Copyright Transaction Platform” to attract outstanding projects to be submitted and many commercial entities to sign projects and cooperate, forming strong cohesiveness and influence in the industry. The Beijing Film Market Contract Signing Ceremony has promoted negotiation and signing of 302 key projects over the past decade, with a total transaction volume of 165.028 billion yuan, a great validation of the acceptance and recognition of the platform in the industry.
This year, “Beijing Film Market” featured various functions, such as online exhibitor display, online screening, video meeting, and online trading. With the participation of 441 film institutions around the globe, the Exhibition this year went online as the first to use a 3D+VR exhibition system among domestic film festivals, offering global film institutions free booths, and bringing exhibitors and guests a digital, intelligent and efficient exchange and cooperation experience.
The Project Pitches collected 829 projects this year, up 13 percent from last year. During the nine-month project review, young filmmakers demonstrated perseverance and endeavor of the rising force. Renowned producer Chen Kuo-Fu, Yong Mei, winner of the Silver Bear for Best Actress, and famous actor, film director & presenter Deng Chao, constituting the jury for the final-round selection, listened to the presentations of 17 pitching projects, had in-depth exchanges regarding specific progress of the projects and selected the winners for six awards like the “Special Award”.
The China Film-Huaxia Film Presentation is a highlight of the 10th BJIFF Beijing Film Market as it received positive response from 38 domestic cinema chains and 22 cinema management companies, and attracted 57 outstanding films from around the world. For domestic films, China Film Co., Ltd. and Huaxia Film Distribution Co., Ltd. teamed up with several presenters to promote 43 outstanding domestic films. Among these films, a suspense film Impasse and a comedy film My People. My Homeland directed by Zhang Yimou drew great attention. There is a ton of surprises among the foreign films for the presentation, including The Current War, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood and other excellent films are expected to inject new multi-dimensional vitality into the Chinese film market.
The Industry Conversations will take place at a boutique guesthouse in Huairou District, Beijing with a focus on hot topics such as "the rise of Chinese young directors", and injected new power and vitality into Chinese and world films.
7. Breaking Boundaries to Create Upgraded “Film +”
Due to the integration between industry development and media, the boundaries of film and television have been gradually broken. A new industrial layout featuring integration is taking shape. To keep enhancing the role of culture in benefiting and educating people, and improve the degree of public participation, the 10th BJIFF has worked with social forces and market forces to build "Film +". Online and offline activities, such as Beijing Ethnic Film Festival, Science Film Section, Beijing Youth Film Festival, Chinese Opera Film Section, Animation Short Section, Youth Science Video Section, Online BJIFF-Class, Animation & Cartoon & Game Section, will enable more people to get involved and enjoy themselves.
Among them, the first Industry Forum of Animation & Cartoon & Game Section at the BJIFF and the first Game-Based Animated Films Exhibition presented the immense charm of the integration of film and television and e-sports.
The Science and Technology Section themed "Films Light up the Dream of Science" showcases achievements in film technology development to the public through online screenings and science popularization activities.
8. Wide Acclaimed BJIFF Favored by Numerous Media
The BJIFF, as an annual film carnival, has attracted numerous domestic and foreign media each year to report its highlights. During the event, the WeChat account, Weibo account and client of major media such as People's Daily, Xinhua News Agency, Guangming Daily, China Youth Daily and China Media Group presented special reports on the BJIFF. Paper media such as Beijing Daily, Beijing Evening News, Beijing Youth Daily and The Beijing News, paid great attention to the event with the latest news published on the major page every day. Official website, WeChat account, Weibo account, client of media established in-depth report section of the activities at the BJIFF. Major programs of Beijing TV Station reported the Launch Ceremony, special programs, forums, Contract Signing Ceremony and other important events & activities of the BJIFF.
The BJIFF has deepened its cooperation with mainstream media, major websites, and we-media platforms with great traffic, covering the exposure of 10 billion-level resource. For example, the main trailer of the BJIFF was released at the gold advertising period just before the Xinwen Lianbo of the China Media Group as well as the ads position at the Moment of WeChat. It has established close cooperation with more than 100 media and built special section on 24 major platforms such as xuexi.cn, Xinhua News Agency, Guangming Daily, yangshipin.cn, cctv.com, The Beijing News, Tok Tok, and toutiao.com. In this way, the information from the BJIFF was widely spread.
During the festival, more than 700 media and platforms participated in reporting and forwarding related information every day on average. A total of 32 mainstream media were organized to complete interviews with 46 domestic and foreign guests, and 80 original releases were issued. There were more than 3 million related links on Baidu. During the warm-up period, an activity themed “Best Support” was launched, where more than 100 famous filmmakers recorded short videos to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the BJIFF. The views of major topic #北京国际电影节# increased by more than 100 million per day on average. As of August 29, it has emerged on the search trend of Weibo for 23 times and the cumulative views of the topics of the BJIFF at Weibo and Tik Tok exceeded 10 billion.
Meanwhile, the BJIFF also attracted great traffic at new media, where 2 creative interaction activities were held, namely “Short Video Contest” and “Registration at Online Cinemas”. It has launched “Short Video Contest” with Tik Tok, ixigua.com, toutiao.com, btime.com, and HiVideo with almost 6,000 entries and 300 million views as of August 29.
The Official Weibo has worked with movie.weibo.com to launch “Registration at Online Cinemas”, with Yang Mi as the initiator and actor Zhou Qi as the participant. Now, the views of the activity topic exceed 500 million.
9. Pushing the Chinese Film Industry to Another Pinnacle
As the Chinese film industry is integrated with the international market, the BJIFF has also become a part of the global film events, setting up an "international network" for filmmakers and pushing the Chinese film industry to another pinnacle.
Beijing is a veritable movie city. The first movie produced by the Chinese people Dingjun Mountain was shot at the Beijing Fengtai Photo Place and screened at Daguanlou, Qianmen in 1905. Since then, Chinese films have taken root, flourished and proliferated, tying an indissoluble bond with the city for generations.
Over the past decade, the BJIFF has become an important platform for publicity and promotion, which tells good Chinese stories, determines the position of the Chinese film industry in the global film industry, and leads a new round of development in the global film landscape, thus making Chinese films to be the development vane of the frontier of the world films, the film industry and the film technology.
Directors such as Lu Chuan, Chen Sicheng and Wen Muye stated at the BJIFF that Beijing is a city that can inspire directors to create. As a highland of Chinese film and television, Beijing has unique advantages in hosting international film festivals. In the future, the BJIFF will make full use of this advantage to better serve the industry and create a unique film festival brand.
Meanwhile, the influence of the BJIFF will extended along with the development of the Beijing film industry, covering every corner of the city to establish intriguing film scenes in the old city. In this way, people can encounter light and shadow everywhere in Beijing.
The gathering is short, but we will meet again finally. Beijing’s persistence and openness for films will always in the mind of every filmmaker. As Xu Tao, member of the Party Leadership Group and Deputy Chief Editor of Beijing Radio & Television Station and Executive Deputy Secretary General of the Organizing Committee of the 10th Beijing International Film Festival, said, “Everyone can watch the best films from around the world in Beijing. That is the everlasting love letter, promise and appointment of the BJIFF for all movie fans worldwide."