Led by the Publicity Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (National Film Board), sponsored by the People’s Government of Beijing Municipality and China Media Group, organized by the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, Huairou District People’s Government of Beijing Municipality, Beijing TV Station (BTV), and Beijing Enterprises Group Real Estate Co., Ltd., the 8th Beijing International Film Festival is about to close successfully after a grand and gorgeous show in the new era of the spring breeze and the dreams.
Reviewing this year’s Beijing International Film Festival, what did we see and how did we feel?
We are delighted to see that, on the basis of the success of the first seven film festivals, this year’s Beijing International Film Festival gave us a full picture of development and prosperity of Chinese films for 40 years of the reform and opening-up, of the open-mind and inclusiveness of China to embrace the world today, and of the Chinese people’s steadfastness and confidence in creating and moving toward a better future under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party.
We are proud to feel that this film festival has presented the world with a new era of Beijing and socialist China through new presentation, new style and new vision!
I. New Presentations:
Tell Chinese Stories Well in the New Era
According to the report issued at the 19th CPC National Congress, we should build our ability in international publicity, tell Chinese Stories well and present a true, multifaceted and comprehensive China. General Secretary Xi Jinping also urged artists to tell Chinese Stories well at the national congress of the Association of Literature and Art. Film serves as the most easily accepted media for the mass. How to tell Chinese Stories well in the new era using fascinating stories, internationally popular film languages and narrative techniques should be naturally the significance and duty of the 8th Beijing International Film Festival.
1. Theme special collection: Focus on Chinese history milestones
The highlight of this year’s Beijing International Film Festival is to display the distinctive charm of Chinese films in multiple dimensions through the “Special Collection | Chinese Cinema: Reform and Opening-up 40 Years”. General Secretary Xi Jinping emphasized in his 2018 New Year’s Speech that “we should take the opportunity of celebrating the 40th anniversary of the reform and opening-up to carry the reform through to the end.” The 40th anniversary of the reform and opening-up is an important history milestone in the development of contemporary China and a momentous event for the growth of China’s film industry. Chinese film industry has undergone tremendous changes in the last 40 years, and the current prosperity of the film market is undoubtedly the cultural achievement made by the reform and opening-up. For this reason, a “Special Collection | Chinese Cinema: Reform and Opening-up 40 Years” was planned in this film festival, to make a comprehensive and systematic review of Chinese films over the years. The Special Collection included four sub-sections, namely, “Special Focus - Zhang Yimou”, “China Film Co. - 40 Years in Glory: Reform and Opening-up 40 Years Masterpiece Panorama”, “Beijing City Story” and “Kaleidoscope”, 40 films and a number of exchange conferences were held to present the cross-section of Chinese films and China’s society in the last 40 years since the reform and opening-up, compare with the reality and form a traceable within the scope of each theme by planning the collection in three dimensions. Among them, the “Reform and Opening-up 40 Years Masterpiece Panorama” displayed a collection of eight representative films which provided a collection of the most recognizable and representative national portraits for Chinese films.
2. Opening Ceremony: Show the charm of Chinese culture
The charm of Chinese Stories is rooted in unique Chinese culture, and the uniqueness of such culture forms the identity card for Chinese stories to go abroad. The Opening Ceremony of the 8th Beijing International Film Festival delivered China’s cultural confidence by presenting Chinese style, Beijing sentiment, main theme, positive energy and international styles, took the lead in releasing the latest data of the Chinese film industry, built a bridge of “Share the Screen, Shape the Future” in the night of world filmmakers gathering in China. At the Opening Ceremony, we can see traditional Chinese cultural elements everywhere such as Chinese martial arts, Peking Opera, calligraphy, and folk arts. The stage design not only featured international and modern styles, but also incorporated traditional Chinese cultural elements. The Huixingwen, as one of the eight Chinese traditional auspicious patterns, delivered long-standing and well-established, endless and limitless blessings; the large-scale opening song and dance show Meet Together in Beijing highlighted the core value of Tiantan Award - “Beauty in Variety, Harmony in Diversity” by stage performance with a sense of ceremony; the song Heros of Earth gave tributes to Peking Opera master Tan Xinpei who starred the first Chinese film; large-scale action show True Hero presented “Kung Fu legend in life” in a different way. The selection and wonderful presentation of the typical elements not only were focused on the harmonious coexistence of human being and nature, but also embodied a inclusive and integrated spirit of the times; called for equal exchanges and complementary development between countries and nations, and also conformed to the trend of world culture and the common value of the human being. Such elements attracted people at different ages and having different film preferences to participate in the festival and feel the great charm of film art.
3. Beijing Film Panorama: Pursue China’s aesthetic style
Beijing International Film Festival has been pursuing the aesthetic style of Chinese films. The 4K restored versions of The Horse Thief and Yellow Earth recently by China Film Archive were specially premiered at this film festival, and the well-known director Tian Zhuangzhuang attended the post-screening event of The Horse Thief. One of the filmmakers in the Focus Section of this Beijing Film Panorama, Hong Kong famous film producer and actress, Ms. Feng Hsu, carrying her own seven films, took part in the dialogues with film scholars. The 4k restored version of Red Dust was premiered in Beijing for the first time. The famous fourth-generation director Huang Shuqin’s Woman-Demon-Human is one of the most outstanding feminist films in China. The literary director, Zheng Dasheng, recently shot his latest masterpiece Bangzi Melody. Both films are based on traditional opera elements but portray the modern concept of consciousness from a completely different perspective. In addition to the correlation of the two films’ themes, the two directors are mother-child relationship. The two films were screened one after another at this film festival and director Zheng Dasheng participated in the exchange. Interactions out of the films made the event more interesting and with more academic value. The film festival, backed by some relevant hardware supports, created conditions to allow the films to be distributed again. In addition, the two domestically produced films that were nominated for the Tiantan Award this year are also excellent films with a realistic, strong sense of the times and a clear presentation of our country’s development. The Operation Red Sea has caused countless nationals to feel a sense of national identity and pride; Hold Your Hands, based on reality, portrays China’s poverty alleviation measures to make the world to get a real picture of China and to understand our sentiments as a responsible country.
II. New Styles:
Deliver Beijing’s Voice in the New Era
Beijing is the birthplace of Chinese films. Today’s Beijing is home to the largest number of film production, distribution, educational institutions and professionals of China, and has the most extensive film audience and the most dynamic film market. Therefore, from the beginning of its birth, Beijing International Film Festival has the mission of enhancing the right to speak for the Chinese film industry and leading the new development of the global film industry. It strives to deliver an international, diverse, and indigenous voices of new era’s Beijing.
1. Film masters gather here to set up international professional standards
After several years of exploration and growth, Beijing International Film Festival has rapidly increased its influence and highlighted the temperament of masters and international style. Tiantan Award, the Competition Section set up in 2013, has attracted some 3,200 registered films from over 90 countries and regions and invited some 40 world famous directors and masters as judges; Honored to present brilliant and starring Opening and Closing Ceremonies, the Red Capet Sessions of each film festival witness some 400 film stars, presidents of international film festivals, international film institutions and top executives of film groups from all over the world. This year’s “Tiantan Award” continues its established reputation and brand influence in the industry. The 15 nominated films included outstanding directors and actors from 19 countries; many of them are frequent guests in Oscar, Golden Globes, and major international film Festivals. The quality of the films is greatly improved compared to these of the previous festivals, and is well recognized by the expert judges. The members of the International Jury of “Tiantan Award” are also outstanding filmmakers who are well-known in the world. The President is China’s well-known director Karwai Wong. The six other judges are: Chinese actor Duan Yihong, Polish composer Jan A. P. Kaczmarek, the US director, scriptwriter and producer Jonathan Mostow, Romania film director C?lin Peter Netzer, Sweden film director and scriptwriter Ruben ?stlund, and Chinese actress Hsu Chi. The film festival has been seeing stronger and stronger lineups of master-level filmmakers year by year, which has fully suggested the wide recognition within the industry as well as the ever-growing international clout and appeal of Beijing International Film Festival.
2. “Harmony in Diversity” to integrate diverse cultures
Beijing International Film Festival emphases on diversity. With a selection of films from multiple countries, numerous themes and various styles, the film festival welcomes the filmmakers and film works of all over the world, and demonstrates its openness towards globalization in cross-cultural communication. Tiantan Award, the Competition Section, actively expands the channels of invitations, and solicits new works for excellent films from all countries in the world. Regardless of the size of the country, regardless of ethnicity, it is measured in accordance with the value standards of “Beauty in Variety, Harmony in Diversity”. It has received 659 entries from 71 countries and regions in six continents, an increase of 235 than that in the 7th film festival. Among all entries, there are 532 international films (including Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan) and 127 domestic films featuring various subjects, genres and styles. “Beijing Film Panorama” has also become an important platform for exchanges and cooperation between China and the global film industry. It not only brings together numerous masterpieces of this year that have won awards and received highly acclaim at various international film festivals, but also gives a special emphasis on works of the Czech Republic, Canada, Japan, and Poland by setting up the National Cinema. It offers the Beijing audiences a splendid film feast, while also promotes cultural exchanges and industrial cooperation among various countries. The degree of diversification of exhibitors at this year’s Beijing International Film Festival has also been further enhanced. There are 220 companies registered online. The international exhibitors come from the UK, Australia, Japan, Ukraine, Israel, Mongolia and other countries. Adhering to the purpose of “Share the Screen, Shape the Future”, the Beijing International Film Festival has built up an important platform for cultural exchanges between Chinese films and international films, and has also demonstrated to the world the vitality and charm of Beijing as a national cultural center.
3. Diverse culture benefits the people, localizes the Beijing International Film Festival and makes it a celebration of the Beijing people
In the past two years, the Beijing International Film Festival has played the slogan of “Welcome to Beijing to Watch the Best Films in Spring”. It is to adhere to the service concept of popular participation and cultural benefits, and strives to create a shared atmosphere of Beijing with unique characteristics in Beijing. Introduce the best and most excellent films in the world to fans and spectators. This year's “Beijing Film Panorama” organized more than 80 workshops and salons before and after the screening, including over 40 activities for Chinese films, on an unprecedented scale. This year, “Science & Technology Section” has been added. Citizens may go to science and technology museums and watch special effect films exhibition such as dome movies, IMAX films and 4D films. In addition to special effect film screenings, many other activities of the same theme have also carried out, such as “science films on campus”, “film carnivals”, “film concerts”, “red carpet fan recruitment” and many more, which also allow ordinary people to enjoy the film world. In the meantime, this year’s film festival has also made many improvements in services, and the ticketing experience of the official ticketing platform has been further optimized to carry greater user flow; more theaters and studios have participated in this festival. It brings more real convenience. On the benefit of the people, the Organizing Committee has exerted continuous efforts and made enormous improvement to promote the participation of the whole citizen body in the event. As a result, the participation groups of the Beijing International Film Festival have slowly expanded from a small part of the audience to the ordinary audience. The increase of audiences is reflected at the box office level. According to the statistics, this film festival generated RMB2 million box office within 1 minute and RMB9 million in 12 minutes after the tickets became available. Tickets of popular movies such as The Grand Budapest Hotel, Titanic and Chungking Express have been sold out in just a few seconds. Such box office not only shocked the public, but also once again proved to the world the great potential of film market in China and the cultural prosperity behind the market.
III. New Visions:
Fly Our Film Dreams in the New Era
Beijing International Film Festival, born in response to the era’s needs, keeps in pace with the era to grow up. Thanks to the enhancement of China’s national strength, people’s increasing demand for culture and lifestyle, and the rapid development of the Chinese film market, the film festival turns to be more influential in terms of dissemination gradually. In the past 7 years, more than 1,600 film companies and over 7,000 industry insiders have engaged in the exhibitions, exchanges, recommendations and trades of films here. It has not only become the most important platform for exchanges and cooperation of the Chinese film market, but also an iconic event which leads the trend and promotes the industrial development. In 2017, the total box office in the Chinese film market entered a stage of over RMB 50 billion. China has become the second largest film market in the world. In this context, the 8th Beijing International Film Festival has continuously pushed forward all aspects of work for the film market and achieved even more inspiring results. The turnover of the film market at this year’s film festival once again set a new record. The total amount reached RMB 26.0825 billion, representing an increase of approximately 49% from the previous year. Up to now, the signed volumes of contracts concluded at the Beijing International Film Festival reached RMB 101.036 billion, surpassing a mark of RMB 100 billion. It has effectively facilitated the resource integration and collaborative innovation of the entire industry chain in various sectors of activities, provided a favorable opportunity for the vigorous development of Chinese films, opened a window for Chinese films to go global and brought new hopes for the film dreams in the new era.
1. Support newcomers, new works and new projects
Beijing International Film Festival has been dedicated to boosting development of the film industry in China and around the world, striving to play the role of industrial incubators to support newcomers, new works and new projects. The media meetings with casting and crew, release conferences of new films and premieres were organized at this film festival, providing a platform of publicity and promotion for newcomers and new works; The Film Critics’ Recommendations Section is set up to discover, present and support excellent young talents with market potential; The Forward Future Section is designed to capture the trend of films and encourage the creation of original films; The “New Chinese Filmmakers Fund Award” and “MPA Award” jointly established by this film festival and the Cannes International Film Festival, to support new filmmakers to participate in international exchanges; the “Project Pitches Award” and “Most Commercial Potential Award” attracted representatives from hundreds of film production agencies worldwide to discuss and exchange ideas, to help young filmmakers take the first step to the market. During this film festival, the forum entitled “How the Chinese film market perfects the new-director supporting system, and establish a high-standard industrialized film mechanism” was held. Leaders from domestic non-profit film organizations and commercial film platforms gathered together to exchange their experiences in finding and supporting young directors.
2. Cultivation of new models for project incubation
The Project Pitches has been an important platform of Beijing International Film Festival for the incubation projects and talents supports. It is committed to selecting the excellent film projects to integrate with elements of the film industry chain, helping to develop outstanding films with artistic value and market potential. A total of 722 projects were registered for this Project Pitches, making a new record in respect of the number of registered projects. In particular, it is worth mentioning that, thanks to its good reputation for finding and supporting outstanding Chinese-language films for many years, the Beijing International Film Festival’s Project Pitches has gradually become the most famous platform of film incubation and supporting platform for the Chinese-language films around the world. Judging from the film projects registered this year, the Beijing International Film Festival’s Project Pitches has exerted an increasingly prominent impact on the Pan-Chinese area. In particular, the number of works from Hong Kong and Taiwan have increased significantly compared with the previous years. It has attracted outstanding Chinese filmmakers from countries such as Malaysia, Singapore, the United States and France to participate in the project. The Project Pitches has more international influence in the film market.
3. Focus on new trends of film technology
The Science & Technology Section is incorporated into related events of this year’s Beijing International Film Festival for the first time. Under the theme of “Movies, add more luster to science and technology”, the Science & Technology Section focuses on how special effects could promote science and technology popularization through screening special effect films such as dome films, IMAX, 4D films and multidimensional films on the basis of the Special Effect Films Exhibition. Five segments such as the special effect films exhibition, science popularization activities, selection of excellent films, showcase and exchanges as well as academic forums, have not only provided the general public with wonderful experiences of S&T films, created a platform of industrial exchanges of special-effect films, but also demonstrated the global achievements in this field. In particular, the Special Effect Films Exhibition has showcased around 30 domestic and foreign latest special-effect films, including 19 international films premiered in China, three films premiered globally, nine films premiered in Asia and seven Chinese films premiered domestically. IMAX film Oceans presented by BBC made presence as an Opening Film. These high-quality works from different countries provide the broad visions of arts and technology for the production of Chinese science and technology films, and will certainly facilitate the improvement of production standards.
4. Exploration of new paths for industrial development
As the most far-reaching communication platform in the film market, the Industry Conversations Section combines with the latest development trends in the industry each year, pays attention to hot topics and discusses cutting-edge trends, so as to provide a platform of ideology collision and knowledge sharing. It has become a weather vane of the film industry. World famous directors, producers, company executives, and experts and professors were invited by the film festival as guest speakers to discuss issues at various levels to be solved in the film industry at home and abroad and to grasp the rules and trends in the development of the world film industry. Four theme forums were held: The Sino-Foreign Film Co-production Forum is hosted to mainly analyze successful cases of co-produced films, study and discuss topics such as market positioning and co-production of co-produced films; The International Film Group Summit Forum focuses on the hot topics related to the current market of film distribution in China, and provides an in-depth analysis of the status quo of global film industry development; The International Digital Cinema Technology Forum explores the in-depth integrated development between science and technology, and films; The Summit on the Beauty of Film carries out the thorough exploration of creative rules, aesthetic qualities, aesthetic values, and social functions of film arts as well as the aesthetic relationship between audience and film art. The topics of these activities are not only cutting-edge, but also have diverse perspectives. They include both policy interpretations, case studies, as well as the exploration of cooperation strategies and resource-sharing mechanisms, creating new opportunities and channels for all-round cooperation for Chinese and foreign films.
The 8th Beijing International Film Festival is the first major event of international cultural exchanges held in Beijing to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the reform and opening-up after the successful opening of the 19th National Congress of the CPC. The event has far-reaching significance, fruitful results and extensive influences, which far exceeds the general activities of international cultural exchange. The Beijing International Film Festival presented not only brilliant films, beautiful and energetic Beijing, but also the charm of China and of its people in the new era. Just as theme of this Beijing International Film Festival’s poster Hit New Heights implies, in response to the culture mission of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, we will uphold the style of “Master, Mass, Market”, keep our original intention of “Beauty in Variety, Harmony in Diversity” in mind, keep growing with self-motivation and look forward to reach another new heights next year as what the Chinese films are expected to reach.