Professional Upgrading with Highlights — Review and Summary of the 13th BJIFF Beijing Film Market
On the evening of April 25, the opening ceremony of the 13th BJIFF Beijing Film Market was held at Langyuan Station, which officially unveiled the curtain of offline activities of Beijing Film Market. Relevant activities attracting many talents with various highlights have not only created a professional exchange platform for outstanding films and filmmakers of film industry to help resources implementation for the BJIFF, but also joined hands with senior professionals in the film industry to lay a solid foundation for the film development and international cooperation. All the filmmakers cooperated with each other here to bring more warmth to this spring, and jointly boosted the prosperity and development of cultural undertakings and cultural industries in China.
Site of Beijing Film Market
▍Debut at Langyuan Station with Cultural and Creative Derivatives Exhibition
The 13th BJIFF Beijing Film Market was held at Langyuan Station, a film and television industry park, for the first time, and multiple wonderful theme forums, workshop & masterclass have also been held based on this industry park.
The Cultural and Creative Derivatives Exhibition was specially added at Langyuan Station this year, which included two major exhibition areas: a professional zone and a public zone. The professional zone attracted some well-known film and TV companies or organizations including the China Film Archive, Beijing Ethnic Film Festival, Huaxia Film Distribution Co., Ltd., The Royal Film Commission Jordan, KOREAN FILM CENTER, The Hong Kong International Film Festival Society, Tencent Music and HUASHI.TV. The pubic zone attracted Warner Bros., The Wandering Earth II, HiFashion Booth of Beijing Fashion Week, Kendal Adventure Base Camp, Bona Film Group Limited, Mtime.com, 52toys.com, Beijing Ever Summer Technology Co., Ltd. and Beijing Qishuo Film Industry Co., Ltd. with the exhibition with their own IP products.
Cultural and Creative Derivatives Exhibition
The professional zone and public zone created by the Beijing Film Market echoed with the international, authoritative and popular brand characteristics of the 13th BJIFF, which not only further facilitated the success of the BJIFF, the exchange and cooperation between domestic and foreign filmmakers, but also greatly improved the in-depth accumulation and implementation of film industry resources in Beijing.
▍Entries for Project Pitches hit record high, outstanding projects displayed actual strength
The BJIFF Project Pitches was set up in 2012. For more than a decade, a large number of potential filmmakers and films have been discovered, such as Larry Yang, Gu Xiaogang and Xu Lei as well as The Cord of Life, Damp Season and The Guest. Based on the BJIFF Project Pitches, they were brought into the market, winning great favor and praise of the audience.
In 2023, the number and quality of entries for the 13th BJIFF Project Pitches hit record high—as many as 874 high-quality films got registered. After the first-round selection and the second-round interview, 10 excellent pitching projects, 6 WIP projects and 3 Beijing International Sports Film Week (BISFW) projects and 4 excellent projects recommended by the Hong Kong-Asia Film Financing Forum (HAF) were shortlisted in the final-round roadshow.
Group photo of winners awarded "Outstanding Pitching Projects"
At the final-round roadshow on April 25 and the honor release cocktail party on April 26, 23 pitching projects showed up in turn and the honors were revealed after the fierce competition at the roadshow. In the end, A Friend of the Rain won two honors, namely the Jury Special Recommendation Award and the Best Original Script Award; The Land in the River won the Jury President Recommendation Award, a newly set award this year. The Projects with Greatest Commercial Potential, the Best Creativity Award, the Beijing International Sports Film Week · Sports Film Project Support Fund, the Most Investment Value Project Award and the Team with Greatest Potential Award were respectively granted to Song of A Female Trucker, The Walking Bird, UP! Miss Pineapple, Chinatown Cha-Cha and The Dreamer in the Jungle.
Group photo of pitching projects
▍"Chief Producer" team set up for the first time, the strongest final jury for the Project Pitches established
Focusing on both film aesthetics and market foresight, the 13th BJIFF Beijing Film Market established the strongest final jury for the Project Pitches among the domestic film festivals in recent years and set up a "Chief Producer" team for the first time. The final jury is composed of the Jury President, Peter Chan, and the Jury Members Zhang Ji, Yao Chen, Wen Muye, and Huang Xuan. They jointly decide the owners of the seven awards. The "Chief Producer" team is composed of the heads of some leading film companies. Based on their precise and professional market insight, they jointly voted the film The Dreamer in the Jungle to win the Most Market Focus Award.
Final Jury for Project Pitches on the site
The strongest Final Jury for Project Pitches and the “Chief Producer" team have not only created the prestige system of Beijing Film Market, but also showcased the positioning of Beijing Film Market which is different from that in other domestic film festivals — to closely connect film aesthetics with market acceptance and actively explore the diversity and possibilities of film art in the market.
▍Remarkable cultivation of young directors, support system upgrading with whole-industry resources
The BJIFF has paid special attention to resource support for young filmmakers in the past years. It is committed to creating a "closed loop" for the training system of young directors; in addition, it has also continuously strengthened the employment opportunities, financial services, implementations and other supporting services for new filmmakers and help with the talent cultivation on the new journey in the new era.
For example, a young director with widespread attention at the Beijing Film Market in the past once again showed up at the BJIFF this year — Xu Lei served as the director of themed video, Gu Xiaogang attended the Project Pitches as a Second-round Jury Member.
With regard to the Project Pitches section, Zhang Songwen, actor and Jury Member of the Tiantan Award, gave a "limited edition" open class themed "The Birth of Film Characters” to almost 100 new filmmakers for the first time: he talks about the career experience as an actor based on his own performance, and provided feasible and reliable career planning and development advices for the new filmmakers in an instructive manner.
Zhang Songwen in his open class themed "The Birth of Film Characters”
The forum themed "The Development Status and Outlet of Chinese Low- and Mid-Budget Arthouse Films” further explored the innovative expression and creative characteristics of the new-generation directors in the context of the creation of low- and mid-budget arthouse films, so as to provide systematic cultivation for young directors with the best supporting resources. Meanwhile, taking the cooperation of Project Pitches at the BJIFF and the Hong Kong International Film Festival as an example, the forum presented the ways to improve support for young directors and bring more possibilities for their works.
Site of forum themed “The Development Status and Outlet of Chinese Low- and Mid-Budget Arthouse Films”
In terms of the examples by the panelists and the discussions at the forum, the Beijing Film Market this year also “witnessed” the “fruit” of the first cooperation between the BJIFF and the Hong Kong International Film Festival last year. Four excellent Hong Kong projects including Ah Ji, The Walking Bird, Kapok and The Last Haven were shortlisted for the Project Pitches section and The Walking Bird even won the Best Creativity Award. The two major film festivals will also sign contract again this year.
In order to provide resources for excellent projects as much as possible, the Beijing Film Market continues to cooperate with the Motion Picture Association of America this year and selected two films, Song of A Female Trucker and A186, which won MPA Award and MPA APSA Award respectively. They will go overseas for study and exchange with the winning contestants from other countries, and have the chance to promote their projects to Hollywood companies. Meanwhile, this year, it will continue to cooperate with Beijing International Sports Film Week to set up a "Sports Film Project Support Fund" to encourage the creation and development of sports-themed films.
Song of A Female Trucker won the MPA Award
A186 won the MPA APSA Award
In response to the increasing demand for employment in the film and television industry, the Beijing Film Market joined hands with BOSS ZHIPIN to set up a dedicated section for the BIJFF Job Fair online and a recruitment zone at the exhibition of Beijing Film Market offline, so as to maximize the accumulation of industrial resources, further expand market opportunities and provide platforms to support young filmmakers.
▍Diverse activities at Industry Forum to emphasize professional dialogue and international exchange
The Industry Forum section of Beijing Film Market further enhanced the professional, forward-looking and innovative discussions, and emphasized the characteristics of international exchange and integration.
The forum activities and promotion conferences facing the film industry and market in China displayed various highlights, and the goal of "inspiring new concepts, colliding with new ideas, sharing new achievements" of various activities has been pushed to a new height: the forum themed Innovation and Iteration of Film Marketing in the New Media Era and the 7th International Film IP Licensing and Derivative Industry Development Forum were successfully held, which displayed the senior filmmakers' thinking and insights on the development of film integration with marketing and explored the cutting-edge ideas in the Chinese film IP licensing and derivative industry. Both Special Forum for Selecting IP of Science Fiction World and The Light of Guangdong Film—Guangdong Film Promotion Conference vividly displayed the development prospects of Chinese film industry.
Site of The Light of Guangdong Film—Guangdong Film Promotion Conference
Expand international perspective and share new pattern of film development. The international exchanges were also successfully held at the Beijing Film Market — it won positive praises, further consolidated the foundation of exchanges between Chinese and foreign filmmakers, reached the cooperation consensus of professionals and expanded the trust and opportunities for in-depth international cooperation. The forum themed Motion Picture Association Film Workshop put forward professional thinking and suggestions for the development of the film and television industry in the metaverse era. The “Why Finland” Finland-China Filming Cooperation Forum conducted in-depth explanation and promotion of Finnish film locations and policies and enhanced the opportunities for film cooperation between the two countries.
Site of the forum themed Motion Picture Association Film Workshop
Site of the “Why Finland” Finland-China Filming Cooperation Forum
The 13th BJIFF Beijing Film Market revealed a feast of cultural exchange for Chinese and foreign filmmakers. It’s here that excellent filmmakers demonstrated their strength, Project Pitches reached a new height, Cultural and Creative Derivatives Exhibition, "Chief Producer" team achieved frequent innovations with high praises, young directors showed their talents and ambitions, and senior industry professionals got together for a collision of ideas. It’s here that Chinese filmmakers brought great brilliance for Chinese films with professionalism, effort, tolerance and passion, and contributed to the vigorous development of Chinese film industry!