“Welcome to Beijing to Watch the Best Films in Spring! ” When more and more fans flooded to the capital’s major cinemas in this colorful spring, and when the world’s most outstanding filmmakers come together to celebrate the festival, this promise echoing over the capital of culture is destined to become the most magnetic, approachable, and appealing call the city has made to the world.
In 2018, the Beijing International Film Festival once again arrives! In 2018, the dazzling red carpet of opening ceremony once again unfolds slowly to the world! In 2018, this city of culture continues to write a new chapter of culture, once again, by connecting the ancient and modern, the home and abroad, with its charm of light and shadow.
一、Cultural genes - Take off high transmission and transmission force
In 2011, when the first 1st Beijing International Film Festival was kicked off, the cultural gene inherited from the millennium culture has injected great vitality for the city’s vigorous growth. The establishment of “Tiantan Award” in the third film festival has improved the professionalism and authority while also infusing Chinese cultural expressions. It embodies the cultural awareness and responsibility of Beijing as the national cultural center and the effort development based on a high starting point.
The establishment of the concept of “Beauty in Variety, Harmony in Diversity” precisely conveys the core and essence of the splendid traditional Chinese culture and the atmosphere and tolerance of this thousand-year-old ancient city of culture. The philosophy and aesthetics contained in this concept even give profound cultural connotations for the Beijing International Film Festival, allowing history and reality to match precisely in the same origin and blending the East and West in the cultural collision.
Upholding this core value concept, Beijing International Film Festival has formed distinctive impressions on the world, nation and city in line with the high requirements and high standards of internationalization, professionalization, innovation & high-end and marketization.
Each session of the Beijing International Film Festival is a record and exhibition of the global film industry development, and promotes the international cultural exchanges. Since the establishment of the “Tiantan Award” in 2013, nearly 3,200 films from more than 90 countries and regions have registered to participate in rating. The films representing different countries and different cultures have opened a window for people to understand the status and trends of world film development, and have expanded the dimensions and depth of the common destiny of mankind. Each year, the 15 films from different countries and regions are selected to reflect the latest production standards and creation trends of the world film, and to reflect the richness, variety and global nature of the festival. From the perspective of judges composition for each session of the Tiantan Award, they not only possess the status and identities of international cinema, but also represent the culture and aesthetics of different regions. All this has made the Beijing International Film Festival more professional, authoritative and with more global vision, and lifted the Film Festival gradually to the height of world-famous film festival in the process of learning and accumulation. As one of the seven main activities, the “Theme Forum” brings together great masters in the international film industry. Through exchanges of ideas, conflicts in thinking, and cultural exchanges, it builds up a platform of exchanges to promote the cultural integration and mutual learning among different countries and ethnic groups, and to understand and grasp the latest trends in the development of world film.
Each session of the Beijing International Film Festival is imprinted with the development trajectory of the current Chinese film industry forging ahead and its steadfast pursuit of catching up with the world. The five-year period since the establishment of the “Tiantan Award” for the film festival coincides with the five years of the brilliant achievements in national cultural construction and the development of Chinese film on a fast lane. From 1942, Feng Shui to The Grandmaster and American Dreams in China, from Wolf Totem, The Taking of Tiger Mountain to Go away Mr. Tumor and The Master, then to Operation Mekong, a nominated film for the 7th Film Festival. For the past five years, these short-listed and even award-winning films have clearly recorded the relentless pursuit and explorations of Chinese filmmakers and constantly demonstrated the strong force for the continuous growth of Chinese films. With the continuous expansion of Chinese film market and the successive breakthroughs in the film box office, Chinese films have continuously mounted a new stage and gradually become a new engine for the world film development. The Beijing International Film Festival fully deserved the important role to promote Chinese films onto the world stage. The two domestically produced films nominated this year are all excellent films with realistic feelings, strong sense of the times, and distinctive national development marks. The Operation Red Sea has aroused a sense of national identity and pride for millions of Chinese; Hold Your Hands is directly based on reality, putting China‘s poverty alleviation action on screen, letting the world know about a real China, and letting the world understand the feelings of a responsible country.
Each session of the Beijing International Film Festival highlights the high starting point and role of pacesetter of the Beijing cultural construction. In addition to the concept of “Beauty in Variety, Harmony in Diversity”, the “Tiantan Award” trophy design also accurately conveys the cultural symbol and festival concept with Chinese characteristics and Beijing characteristics, and embodies the Beijing International Film Festival’s theme of “Share the Screen, Shape the Future”. Once a year, fans meet with each other and so do the filmmakers. It is also exuding the strong temperament of the capital of Chinese culture and oriental film. Beijing is a gathering place for the core resources of Chinese films and is also the first choice for filmmakers to create dreams. Every year, a large number of outstanding film works are born here. All this has determined that Beijing should provide the best quality soil for film creation and the building of the best platform, and provide the most effective support and the most powerful driving force for the development of Chinese film. To this end, the Beijing International Film Festival makes theme design keeing pace with the times and special planning of effort development based on a high starting point for the event each year, forming a distinct symbolic feature of the cultural capital. This year’s “Film Display in Memory of 40th Anniversary of the Reform and Opening-up” will allow fans to experience clear footprints of China’s progress when looking back at history. “Filmmakers in Focus: Zhang Yimou”, “Glorious 40 Years of Chinese Films”, “Stories of Beijing”, “Art Exploration” and other special screenings will allow viewers to re-examine the artistic achievements and cultural charm of Chinese films with unique national features from multiple dimensions.
二、Culture benefits the people - upgrading through interactions between public and film
Film is one of the cultural communication carriers the most close to the public, and is the art expression with the most extensive mass bases. It is also the culture art category that can trigger social topics and trigger emotional resonance the most.
The film festival is more than just a feast for filmmakers. It is also a cultural feast for the audiences and fans. It is exactly because of the extensive participation of the masses that the Beijing International Film Festival has been able to have a deep rooted and energetic nature. Since 2011 up to now, the Beijing International Film Festival has selected nearly 2,400 Chinese and foreign art masterpieces dedicated to audiences, and organized more than 5,000 exhibitions and events, providing people with rich film cultural nourishment.
With the increasingly powerful influence of the Beijing International Film Festival, the domestic audience’s attention and enthusiasm for this Festival are also increasing day by day. The annual beginning date of ticket sales for the festival is a moment that film fans are the most concerned and most excited about. It is also a moment of luck. On the first day of this year’s Film Panorama, it was hard to get even a single ticket. The official ticketing platform Taopiaopiao had a box office of RMB2 million for the first minute, RMB3 million for two minutes, RMB6 million for five minutes, and RMB9 million for 12 minutes. Compared with the 7th Session, the ticket sales speed is more than twice. And as of April 1, the total box office reached RMB10.77 million, an impressive performance.
While attracting the extensive public participation and nurturing a larger market, the festival has a more important responsibility of continuously improving the appreciation and aesthetics ability of audiences and fans, guiding the direction for film development and promoting the benign interation between films and the public through measures benefiting the public.
As always, the Film Festival this year continues to adhere to the concept of benefiting people with culture. It has made meticulous preparations in film curation, invitation, schedule, promotion and other aspects. It has selected nearly 500 works in such ways as targeted invitation and registration of producers themselves, and formed 18 Out-of-Competition Sections for the centralized screening in 32 commercial cinemas, art cinemas and college cinemas in Beijing in a 17-day period.
In addition to film-screening, Beijing Film Panorama pays more attention to providing opportunities of conducting face--to-face exchange and sharing with creators and scholars for film fans. It will provide a platform of getting access to filmmakers and masters with zero gap. The nearly 100 professional lectures are undoubtedly blessings and benefits that the film festival offers the vast film fans. Senior experts and professors from Peking University, Beijing Film Academy, Shanghai Theatre Academy, and China Film Archive, as well as some well-known directors will show up at the forums and salons of the film festival. Film fans will further improve their understanding and comprehension for films through dialogues with masters and celebrities, and realize spiritual dialogues with films in a higher level. This generous gift is not only a present that encourages film fans to participate in the film festival, but also a cultural impetus for the healthy development of the Chinese film market.
The improvement of audiences’ appreciation cannot do without the improvement of film quality. In the meantime, the benign and healthy development of the film market is in need of the cultivation and guidance of audience aesthetics.
In the past five years, Beijing’s average yearly cinema-going per capita has reached 2.8 session/times, taking lead among all major cities. With the surging of audiences’ film-viewing enthusiasm, the cultural qualities and appreciation capabilities of Beijing’s audiences have also been improving all the time. Especially with the ever-increasing international film exchanges and the positive influence of Beijing International Film Festival, the audiences’ aesthetics are also seeing the trend of diversification and differentiation. They are not satisfied over the sensor stimuli and visual shock of blockbusters, but starting to seek intrinsic connotations and artistic level. As a result, the small-mass market for art films and documentaries is taking shape. For this year’s film festival, some small-mass movies have seen unexpected box office achievements. Such small-mass movies as art movies and documentaries are gaining more and more favor from film fans. The improvement of populace aesthetics is the guarantee for improving the diversified development of the film industry, however, all this cannot do without the film festival’s people-benefiting action, welfare behavior and forceful guidance.
In addition to film screening, forums and salons, the yearly Film Carnival has also attracted millions of participants. Being featured with movie technologies and cultures, specialty gourmet food, visual feast, visual wonders, scenario restoration, digital technologies, and scientific means, the Film Carnival will enable participants joyfully experience the miraculous fancy journey of films, and let the film festival benefit more people.
三、Industrial enhancement, Co-enforcement of film festival and market
In 2017, China’s film market kept a benign development, posting a total box office of RMB 55.911 billion, with homemade films posting a combined box office of RMB 30.104 billion or 53.84% of the aggregate box office. The film market has become more pleasing in 2018. The Q1 box office aggregate reached as high as 20.217 billion yuan which has not only exceeded the US$3.085-bn box office of the North American market in 2015, but also hit a new record of a national film market in a single quarter.
If the Chinese films are becoming a new engine of the global film development, Beijing is the locomotive of China’s film development.
As the national cultural center, Beijing owns 7,000 plus filmmaking institutions, greatly taking lead in China. A lot of well-known film enterprises are headquartered in Beijing, including China Film Group, Stellar Megamedia Group, Wanda, Bona, Huayi, Enlight Media, and Beijing Culture. China (Huairou) Film and TV Demo Zone is the only national-level film and TV industry demo zone in China. Beijing is home to the most excellent film professionals and top-notch art universities. Additionally, Beijing has pooled the core technologies of the whole film industrial chain, with large quantities of film financing, designing, film script, casting, post production, and distribution resources.
Since 2013, Beijing has been producing more than 300 movies each year, accounting for 40% of national output. Six out of the top 10 domestic movies in box office come from China. Such popular movies as Operation Mekong, Wolf Totem, Wolf Warriors 2, and Operation Red Sea have all come from Beijing. Beijing boasts of exclusive film and TV creation resources which provide abundant nutrients for Beijing’s film industry development, while the government is the forceful protector and supporter of the film industry development.
Since inception, Beijing International Film Festival has been actively pushing forward the industrial development, coordinating with the government’s favorable cultural policies, giving birth to fruitful achievements.
As one major part of BJIFF, Film Market has been widely attracting domestic and foreign enterprises, major international cooperation projects, producers and distributors, and carrying out Exhibitions, Project Pitches, Industry Conversations, Events & Activities, Contract Signing Ceremony, etc., and striving to building up the platform of film factors, Project Pitches, film copyright transactions. The signed volumes have been hitting new highs, which have greatly promoted the development of the film industry. As a result, it has become the weather vane, catalyst and incubator of China’s film industry.
Project number and signature volumes are an important indicator for a film festival’s influence and success. The Film Market sector featuring “exhibition, recommendation, transaction and exchange” has successfully spurred the Chinese film market. The signed volumes in Film Market hiked from 2.794 billion yuan in the first year to 17.458 billion in the seventh year, with an accumulative value of 74.953 billion yuan, involving the whole industrial chain. Therefore, it has become one of the largest film markets in Asia.
The Project Pitches unit is the incubator developed by Beijing International Film Festival for high quality film projects with huge market potential. The applicants for this year’s Project Pitches have reached 722, hitting a new high. This comprehensive transaction platform integrating investment, production, marketing and publicity has incubated a large batch of excellent films with great potentials, such as My Beloved Bodyguard, Dot 2 Dot, Mountain Cry, Go away Mr. Tumor. At present, the aggregate box office earnings hatched on this platform have approached 2 billion yuan. A large batch of excellent young filmmakers are standing out brilliantly, transmitting fresh blood into China’s film market. Besides, with years of experience accumulation and quality improvement, the Film Market Project Pitches of Beijing International Film Festival has beaten out a project incubation approach belonging to itself--setting foot in China and taking a global view. This mode has been gradually recognized by the professionals, as well as establishing a platform leading to the overseas market for young filmmakers participating in the Project Pitches.
As the capital of China, Beijing is taking the sacred mission of pushing forward the national cultural center construction and international exchange center construction. Accordingly, Beijing International Film Festival is equally shouldering the mission of letting the Chinese films walk toward the center of the global arena and become the engine of global development. As a key cultural event of building an internationally first-rank city suitable for living and a core activity of forging the oriental film capital, Beijing International Film Festival will continue to demonstrate the charm of the Chinese culture amid hard struggling, communicate the core of the Chinese culture, and “share the screen and shape the future” with the global filmmakers via exchange and cooperatio