On the night of April 17th, the 9th Beijing International Film Festival (9th BJIFF)-Project Pitches Award Cocktail Party was held successfully at Beijing International Hotel. As the biggest winner, The Cat Called Schrodinger claimed the "Special Award", "International Promotion Award" and "Most Market Focus Award" for WIP Project.
As an important section of the "Beijing Film Market", the Project Pitches has upheld the core concept of "turning a story into a film". Since the beginning of the BJIFF, the event has been committed to building a general trading platform integrating training, selection, support, negotiation, incubation, tracking and display. Outstanding film projects selected here will be fully integrated with the elements of the film industry chain to incubate the most promising film works.
This year saw the eighth edition of the Project Pitches. So far over 150 film projects have been trained, promoted, displayed and coordinated through the Project Pitches, and over 30 young directors have been introduced to domestic and foreign film & television industries. The Project Pitches has not only discovered numberless outstanding projects, but also incubated a number of works created by young directors, including hits like Till the End of the World, Mountain Cry, The Seventy-Seven Days and Big Fish & Begonia. After their release, they all achieved box office success and received positive response. Suburban Birds to be released this year was shortlisted for the Top20 entries of Project Pitches of the 7th Beijing International Film Festival and won the Best Narrative Feature Award at FIRST International Film Festival Xining 2018. No Killing which won the Best Original Script Award at the 7th Beijing International Film Festival has been wrapped up. Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains which won the 8th Special Award, as well as outstanding projects Under the Sun and Cliff have started shooting. It is believed that the award-winning outstanding projects this year will show amazing potential and vitality in the future Chinese film market.
China's film industry has entered a golden era. In 2018, China produced 1,082 films and achieved domestic box office of 37.897 billion yuan, accounting for 62.15 percent of the total. This has created an opportunity for Chinese young filmmakers to prove themselves, but the financing problem of young filmmakers has existed. Aiming at financing difficulty and other problems, the Project Pitches is telling young filmmakers with fruitful results: do not worry, hold fast to dreams, the Project Pitches will escort you. The Project Pitches believes that young directors in pursuit of film art are the driver of the film market and will be effective strength in the future film market.
The Project Pitches of the 9th BJIFF from December 3rd, 2018 to March 3rd, 2019 received 735 projects from 10 countries and regions. These works feature a variety of genres and novel styles. After reviews and selections, 26 outstanding film projects finally rolled out. 10 pitch projects and 6 WIP projects entered the final-round review and road show of the "Beijing Film Market" Project Pitches at the 9th BJIFF. Remarkably, WIP (Working in Process) projects were a new section of the Project Pitches of the 9th BJIFF, which aims to provide early and late-stage support for outstanding projects with shooting permits and facilitate the implantation and completion of outstanding projects. It is a highlight of the Project Pitches of the 9th BJIFF.
The projects shortlisted for the final-round review and road show of the Beijing Film Market of the 9th BJIFF include Visitors to the Northern World of Ice, The Carrier Varyag, Special Mother and Daughter, Guack! Team Nandao, Myna Bird, The Traces, Angel, Demon and Victim, The Fairy Tale World, Our Secret and The Cat Called Schrodinger; and the WIP projects include: Fragrance, Damp Season, Jing-Ju Cats: Tales of Heroes, Rebuilding, Summer Arouse and The Inglourious Dogs (in random order).
These outstanding projects appeared for review by three final-round judges in the final-round review and road show on April 16th. Renowned director Guan Hu served as President of the 9th BJIFF Final Round Selection Jury for “Project Pitches” at the 9th BJIFF. Chang Chia-Lu, a renowned executive producer and screenwriter and Li Jie, Senior Vice President of Alibaba Pictures served as members of the Jury. The three final-round judges gave one-on-one instructions to the shortlisted projects during the road show. Following the road show, the Jury selected the winners of four awards for pitch projects and two awards for WIP projects after a closed-door meeting. After the road show, the Final-Round Selection Jury selected the winners of four awards for pitching projects and two for WIP projects at a private session. For this year’s event, the Marketing Decision Group consisting of representatives of 20 film and television companies comprehensively scored in film production, market enforceability, commercial potential and other dimensions from the industry perspective, and then voted for the Most Market Focus Award, aiming to facilitate the integration of projects and the market.
Eventually, at the Project Pitches Award Cocktail Party of the "Beijing Film Market" on April 17th, The Cat Called Schrodinger became the biggest winner standing out from the 10 projects as it grabs the "Special Award", the "International Promotion Award" for Pitch Project and the "Most Market Focus Award" for WIP Project. It also won 60,000 yuan in cash prize from CMC Inc. and Gravity Pictures, 800,000 yuan-worth editing and special effects production (post film production) service from Creative Production, and 250,000 yuan-worth concept design special effects service from Phenom Films.
Special Mother and Daughter won the "Best Original Script Award" for Pitch Project and 50,000 yuan in cash from Arcat Film Art Center; Myna Bird won the "Projects with Greatest Commercial Potential Award" and 50,000 yuan in cash prize from Jiazhuo (Beijing) Cultural Media Co., Ltd. and Dong Lang Film Creative Industry Park; Guack! Team Nandao won the "Best Creativity Award" for Pitch Project and 50,000 yuan in cash prize from Golden Week Conference for Chinese Screenwriters. These projects also won conceptual design special effects service worth 250,000 yuan from Phenom Films.
Among the WIP projects, The Inglourious Dogs won the "Most Investment Value Project Award" and won 700,000 yuan-worth sound and picture post production service from Amazing Ray Cultural Communication Co., Ltd.; Summer Arouse won the "Most Potential Production Team Award" and won timing service worth 150,000 yuan from Phenom Films. Besides, Special Mother and Daughter won the "MPA Award"; The Fairy Tale World won the "MPA Special Award for Asia Pacific Cooperation" and The Traces won the "International Promotion Award". The project teams winning these awards will have the chance to participate in world-renowned film festivals.
Besides, young directors' experience is worthy of being shared by more young aspirants for creation. Therefore the “Industrial Conversation: Rise of Chinese Young Directors” was held, during which the young directors shortlisted for or winning Project Pitches awards were present, including Qiu Sheng, director of Suburban Birds, Liang Ming, director of Under the Sun, Gu Xiaogang, director of Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains, Xu Xiangyun director of No Killing, and Gexige Baoyin director of Harif. They unanimously chose their hometown as the as shooting location for directorial debuts, which were completed after going through challenges and hardships. Just as Guan Hu, President of the Final Round Selection Jury for the Project Pitches of the 9th BJIFF said, "Dreams and passion are not enough, young directors should have the stronger spirit of overcoming difficulties and be capable of assuming responsibility, as far as films are concerned, toughness is more important than passion." The young directors showed their toughness in the dialogue, and shared their joy and hardships during filming. Young filmmakers off the stage were involved in the dialogue. They discussed how the Project Pitches helps young directors fulfill their film dream and boost the future of Chinese films.
Over the years, the "Beijing Film Market" Project Pitches of the Beijing International Film Festival has been committed to building a Chinese film project pitches platform with international vision, sparing no efforts to encourage and support talented and aspirant young creators, and striving to constantly inject new power into Chinese films. The "Beijing Film Market" Project Pitches has achieved encouraging results and is believed to have a better future.