Opening and Closing
11th Beijing International Film Festival Concludes with Resounding Success, Winners of Tiantan Award Announced
The 11th Beijing International Film Festival (BJIFF) ended on a high note in Beijing with the most beautiful autumn scenery on September 29, 2021. When Beijing meets movies and in turn movies fall in love with Beijing, legendary stories about cinematic infatuation echo there.
Closely centering around the concept of “a community with a shared future for mankind,” this year’s BJIFF Closing & Awards Ceremony continued “online” experience technically and in form. Could technology enabled all the invited domestic and foreign crews and award presenters to share the unforgettable legendary off-screen memories, the energetic enthusiasm to be passed online, and the audience to witness that the films from all over the world closely tied the fates of people of different colors, nationalities and geographies together. In response to celebrating the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China that comes this year, red movies and young filmmakers’ performances also paid tribute to this great historical course on the evening of the awards ceremony.
Cloud technology connects the emotions of the world and virtual images push outside the boundaries of visual senses
Today’s 11th BJIFF Closing & Awards Ceremony is doomed to be a "brilliant night forever" in the annals of the BJIFF. By breaking the idiomatic paradigm of a traditional awards ceremony and audaciously resorting to real-time multi-point connection technology, it allowed the twelve crews outside China shortlisted for the Tiantan Award to simultaneously partake in the Closing & Awards Ceremony online. Although the foreign award-winning film crews were unable to come to the scene to receive the awards in person due to the pandemic, they still enjoyed simultaneous joy and touched emotions – winners of all awards were announced online and delivered in real time to every crew in various countries. At the moment, the fates of filmmakers anywhere in the world was also closely linked to the platform of the BJIFF.
The global film industry has been hit with the Covid-19 pandemic. The way that the awards for this year’s BJIFF closing & awards ceremony were presented overcame jet lag and geographical barrier, while congealing the emotion and power of filmmakers at home and abroad. Not only does this scheme advance the development of the film industry in China and the world, but also it helps filmmakers worldwide build up momentum to ride on the crest of success at this time of global adversity.
In the meantime, in order to offer all filmmakers and movie fans optimal visual sensory experience, the 11th BJIFF did the acme of visual effects by using virtual technology to add the virtual Tiantan Award trophy to the images. This allowed for rounding out the graphic vision of a traditional awards ceremony in a three-dimensional way.
Filmmakers with their prime in the golden age are reunited to recall the golden years of Chinese films
Led by the two veteran actors He Bing and Wu Gang, the scene of the awards ceremony was full of jollification and moving. Several filmmakers with their prime in the golden age, including Chen Daoming, Gong Li, Ge You, Jiang Wen and Liu Xiaoqing, were reunited, setting the crowd on fire. Gong Li and Jiang Wen took to the stage hand in hand. When presenting the Tiantan Award for Best Feature Film, they looked back at their cooperation in the film Red Sorghum 34 years ago. A sound of “granny” from Jiang brought back the memories of many fans. Extremely emotional, they said: "Let's come back to present awards 34 years on. Be there or be square!" Thus it can be seen that the BJIFF as the "base camp" of Chinese filmmakers is of significance to Chinese films.
Chen Daoming and Ge You presented the Best Director award in a humorous and teasing manner. They also tantalized Gong Li good-humoredly as "the most honored person on the scene" because her "three husbands (in the film)" – Jiang Wen, Ge You and Chen Daoming were all present. While presenting the Best Actress award, Chen Kun and Liu Xiaoqing, a two-generation duo, framed their award speech in terms of their understanding of acting career and how to feel relatable. Liu’s speech that "[I’ve always been] holding the film in high regard, working hard for the film, tearing in her eyes in the face of film, and being passionate" not only made the crowd give a thumbs-up and applaud, but also impressed and moved the filmmakers on the spot.
At the climax of the awards ceremony, classic memories of the Chinese filmmakers once leading Chinese films to the international arena were also displayed on the screen. Photos, which freeze the once young filmmakers with singleness of heart who ever created the glories of Chinese films with passion in their youth, also recalled the best moments of China’s film industry. They were the first filmmakers who entered the international arena after the founding of New China depicting the prosperity of Chinese films with the unique language of films and showing the cultural confidence of Chinese films. They proved to us Chinese filmmakers are growing with the world’s filmmakers, and striving to make new contributions to the common prosperity and development of the world’s film industry.
Recipients of ten Tiantan Award trophies attract the attention of filmmakers worldwide
The fifteen films shortlisted for this year’s BJIFF Competition Section were all-inclusive, diverse in genres and rich in expression perspectives, ranging from the elaborately-crafted works of noted veteran directors to the innovative works of young directors. With “Beauty in Variety, Harmony in Diversity” as its core value, the Tiantan Award harboring good messages of traditional Chinese culture recognized these outstanding film works and filmmakers from around the globe.
On the evening of the closing ceremony, the crews of the three Chinese shortlisted films All About My Mother, Before Next Spring and Beyond the Skies and the crew of the closing film Saturday Fiction were also present at the scene to witness the announcement of the ten award winners of the Tiantan Award together with filmmakers from all over the world.
As Tiantan Award jury president Gong Li and Jury members Chen Kun, Leste Chen, Wuershan and Zhang Songwen, as well as other filmmakers including Chen Daoming, Cao Yu, Duan Yihong, Ge You, Jiang Wen, Jing Boran, Liu Heng, Liu Xiaoqing, Ma Yili, Wang Xueqi and Miriam Yeung as award presenters successively walked on the stage, ten Tiantan Award trophies also found their own best home.
List of Tiantan Award Winners
The Chinese film Beyond the Skies became the biggest winner of the 11th BJIFF, making a clean sweep of three awards including the Best Feature Film, Best Actor and Best Cinematography. This war-themed film depicts the story of the Red Army with “ink painting quality”, hoping to let the world see the cultural temperament that has been inherited for thousands of years and the ever-changing Oriental civilization through Chinese poetic film aesthetics. At the awards ceremony, director Liu Zhihai and the cast & crew could not hide their excitement and joy, hugging each other with tears filling their eyes, and expressing their deep gratitude for the BJIFF Organizing Committee and the Jury of Tiantan Award.
Besides, the winner of the Best Actress was Noée Abita, the leading actress in the film Slalom. Iranian actor Shahab Hosseini won the Tiantan Award for Best Supporting Actor with the film Any Day Now, while Danish actress Nanna Skaarup Voss won the Tiantan Award for Best Supporting Actress with the film The Pact. In addition, the film Any Day Now was also awarded the Best Music, while the Best Screenplay went to Christian Torpe, the screenwriter of The Pact. The Best Director was granted to Andrey Zaytsev, Director of the film A Siege Diary. At the closing ceremony, these award-winning international filmmakers respectively gave an acceptance speech online, and expressed their gratitude for the BJIFF.
New generation of filmmakers show their love and expectations for films in their songs
With the announcement of ten winners of the Tiantan Award, the new generation of filmmakers also walked onto the stage successively, and showed their love and expectations for films through wonderful performances. These young Chinese filmmakers have carried forward the spirit of film, and brought new hope to the future of the Chinese film industry.
The performance opened with a Chinese-style song A Heavenly Chorus by singers Ayanga, Wu Tong, Chen Jun and Wang Shuai, presenting profound traditional Chinese culture. In terms of accompany, this song integrates various kinds of Chinese and Western instruments, including sheng, a Chinese mouth-blown free reed instrument, Chinese lute and erhu, a Chinese two-stringed bowed instrument, violin and cello. It has not only demonstrated the inclusiveness of Beijing as the center of oriental culture, but also highlighted the role of music in integration and exchange under the community with a shared future.
Aarif Rahman, Guan Xiaotong and the Stone & Children choir together sang a song, A Love Letter to Filmmakers. It showed respect for filmmakers who work hard and never give up, and once again sent out an invitation of “watching the world's best movies in Beijing” to global filmmakers on behalf of the BJIFF.
What a good film can give us is not only the characters and things in the story, but also music in the story. Zhou Shen, a film music promoter, sang a theme song of the same name for the film Impasse by Director Zhang Yimou. It tells a moving story about sacrifice in the film, and praises those anonymous heroes who have dedicated the youth, passion and lives to the country. Singer Yang Kun and a choir from Beijing Film Academy together performed a theme song An Endless River for the movie The Warriors. It upholds the eternal warrior spirit, and expresses the yearning for the victory of freedom and the call for love and peace.
This international film festival has been wrapped up with a complete success, but the movies we love will never come to an end. In 2022, let us get together at the Beijing International Film Festival again, and “watch the world's best movies in Beijing”.