The 14th BJIFF NEWHER Women-Focused Film Forum & The Night of NEWHER was held at the Black Box Theatre of the Huairou Campus, Beijing Film Academy on the afternoon of April 21. The activity, hosted by the Beijing International Film Festival (BJIFF) and organized by the Beijing Film Academy, is the final part of the 14th BJIFF NEWHER Women-Focused Film Section. 
  Activity site
Li Xiulei, Deputy Editor-in-chief of Beijing Radio & Television Station and Deputy Secretary-General of the BJIFF Organizing Committee, and Cui Yan, Director of the BJIFF Operations Center of Beijing Radio & Television Station and Executive Deputy Director of the BJIFF Organizing Committee Office, were present at the NEWHER Women-Focused Film Forum. William Feng, Head of Greater China & Vice President of Asia Pacific, Motion Picture Association of America, presided over the forum, while Chinese director Li Shaohong, Chinese director Zhang Mo, Xiong Ying, Co-Founder of Dadi Film and honorary director of China Foundation for Human Rights Development of Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China, Rao Xueman, famous Chinese writer and screenwriter, Song Jia, Vice President of iQIYI, and Deng Lu, a director of cinematography, served as the panelists. 
  Activity site 
  Moderator William Feng
The forum carried out discussions under the theme of “Tell Stories about Her Well and Carry Forward the Power of Her”. Subsequently, the first session of The Night of NEWHER was held, where Stanley Kwan, President of the Final Jury for Project Pitches of the 14th BJIFF and famous director from Hong Kong, China, showed up with his new film First Night Nerves. A number of leaders, experts and excellent female practitioners gathered to discuss the charm of new women, new perspectives and new images, explore women’s power, keep telling women's stories in the new age, and make joint efforts to support the rise and growth of excellent female filmmakers. 
  The audience
  Activity site
  Forum panelists
▌Sharing views on films, and displaying women's power
Li Xiulei, Deputy Editor-in-chief of Beijing Radio & Television Station and Deputy Secretary-General of the BJIFF Organizing Committee, delivered a speech. She stated that the BJIFF has already become a professional international film festival with high-end positioning and market-oriented operations. In this age, women play an increasingly important role in films. As a new addition to the this year's BJIFF, the NEWHER Women-Focused Film Section is designed to inject new vigor into the film industry, and encourage young female filmmakers to grow stronger with the spirit of craftsmanship by discussing works from women’s perspectives, enlightening women's thinking, and fostering young female creators. 
  Li Xiulei delivers a speech
Later on, the forum entered a session of discussions under the theme of “Tell Stories about Her Well and Carry Forward the Power of Her”. The panelists conducted in-depth discussions and exchanges on the advantages, difficulties and challenges of female creators, the shaping of female images, the relationship between women-focused films and the audience, and other topics from the perspectives of creative experience, industry observation, personal thinking, etc., and provided many useful insights for the development of Chinese women-focused films. 
  Forum panelists
During discussions, Director Li Shaohong shared the process of gradual awakening of her gender consciousness when filming Bloody Morning and Blush. She said that the gender itself is the biggest advantage for female directors. Speaking of how Chinese female creators should get involved in the subjective construction of Chinese culture, she noted that female directors should make constant improvements, and try the best to create more excellent works in the context of the culture trend in which the power of women is valued all over the world. 
  Li Shaohong shares views
Director Zhang Mo said that films depict human emotions, which are universal, and women naturally have a gift for storytelling and delicate feelings. Therefore, female creators in pursuit of the most authentic feelings in their hearts can show delicate emotions and unique perspectives of women. When asked about the current situation of Chinese female creators in the international discourse field, she answered that female directors must shoot as many works as they can, create more diversified and challenging female images, and make breakthroughs with continuous accumulation. 
  Zhang Mo shares views
When talking about how female images with genre restrictions can achieve more diversified and authentic expression, Ms. Xiong Ying said that creators who blindly cater to the audience can’t keep up with the changes of the market, so they should be proactive and constantly guide the audience between the market and expression. They should not limit themselves or stand still. She encouraged young female filmmakers to promote diversified Oriental female images to the global film market, and help Chinese women-focused films go global in the new era. 
  Xiong Ying shares views
During discussions, Rao Xueman reviewed her experiences and feelings when creating Somewhere Winter and We are Forever, and talked about an obvious change in developing contemporary female images in China. She observed that different from the conventional images of mothers or women that are submissive, sacrificial and selfless, women's images today are freed from the constraints in the past, becoming more self-fulfilling and independent. She believed that the key to creation is to truly touch the audience, and films sticking to that point will eventually succeed no matter from a female or male perspective. 
  Rao Xueman shares views
Cinematographer Deng Lu said that she never considered whether she was competent or not when facing heavy photographic equipment at the beginning of her career, but always had a belief -- I could be qualified for this job. Regardless of gender, a cinematographer can do anything, and female cinematographers even boast a unique advantage -- the ability of magnifying narrative details with the camera through their delicate observation, and fully highlighting the charm of film language. 
  Deng Lu shares views
Based on her own working experience, Ms. Song Jia introduced that female roles no longer serve as an auxiliary or foil, but are of critical significance and transition function. Chinese films will further go global in the future, inviting the audience all over the world to see new consciousness and new thoughts of Chinese women. In order to achieve this goal, we should embrace more male audiences, and create works with common human emotions. 
  Song Jia shares views
▌Director Stanley Kwan showed up to talk about female narrative with his new film  
Surprisingly, Stanley Kwan, a famous director from Hong Kong, China, also showed up and joined discussions of the women-focused forum. He not only shared his experience and feelings of creating female images in previous works, but also introduced his new film First Night Nerves, which is about to be released in Chinese mainland soon. 
  Stanley Kwan shares views
He said that female characters in his films, such as lovestruck Fleur (by Anita Mui) in Rouge, Ruan Lingyu (by Maggie Cheung) who was destroyed by rumors, and Wang Qiyao (by Sammi Cheng) in Everlasting Regret, all have independent thinking and a resilient personality. Later on, Stanley Kwan shared the original intention of creating his new film First Night Nerves. Several years ago, when he learned that the Hong Kong City Hall, a landmark building that holds the common memory of people in this city, was about to be demolished, the director conceived the story of eight core female characters setting aside old grudges and reuniting because of rehearsals for a stage play. Fortunately, the demolition plan was terminated before the filming was completed. The director also shared his collaboration with a few powerful actresses in this film, such as Sammi Cheng, Gigi Leung, Bai Baihe, Angie Chiu, Qi Xi, etc. We expect the film to meet the audience in the near future.
▌Embarking on a new creative journey by passing on women’s glories
After the forum concluded, The Night of NEWHER grandly opened. A few honors of the 14th BJIFF NEWHER Women-Focused Film Section were announced at the awards ceremony.
First of all, the honor of the Short Film with Greatest Commercial Potential was unveiled, which was conferred to the film The Echo of Vendetta by Dong Mingxing. This honor was announced by William Feng and presented by director Zhang Mo. 
  Honor presentation of Short Film with Greatest Commercial Potential
The honor of Best Short Film came next, which was announced by producer Liu Ruifang, who also served as a mentor of the NEWHER Women-Focused Film Section. Rao Xueman, also a mentor of the section, presented the honorary certificate to the winner, director Zhao Siying. 
  Honor presentation of Best Short Film
The third honor is the Best Director, which was announced by Cui Yan, Director of the BJIFF Operations Center and Executive Deputy Director of the BJIFF Organizing Committee Office. Director Li Shaohong, a mentor of the section, presented the honorary certificate to the winner, director Xia Meng. 
  Honor presentation of Best Director
In the end, five young directors included in the NEWHER Workshop appeared on the stage together. Four instructors of the NEWHER Workshop & Masterclass, namely editor Shirley Yip Yuen-Ting, sound director Zhao Nan, colorist Fu Shu, and Deng Lu, a director of cinematography, as well as Song Jia, Vice President of iQIYI, the Exclusive Partner of the Online BJIFF, showed up on the stage and presented the honor of Excellent Short Film to young directors Story Chen, Zhu Xinyi, Zhao Siying, Xia Meng and Dong Mingxing. They also took a group photo with all the guests present today, declaring the successful conclusion of this activity. 
  A group photo of attendees
Through this activity, Chinese filmmakers and audiences together witnessed the mutual help, inheritance and co-construction of women in the film industry. NEWHER represents an upward force, the faithful quality and a noble spirit, which belongs to every woman who bravely pursues dreams in the film industry. The NEWHER Women-Focused Film Section with unique features will provide more opportunities for female filmmakers to display their talents in the future. Let’s work together and meet again next year, helping more women realize their dreams.


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