An annual celebration embraces China's growing film industry
By Tao Zihui  ·  2021-07-16  ·   Source: Web Exclusive

A poster for the 11th Beijing International Film Festival (COURTESY PHOTO) 

The blades turn, the lights come on, and the curtains slowly open. Above the windmill, a team of film workers are hard at work, directing, lighting, recording, making-up... Behind the opened drapes emerge the Great Wall, the Red Building of Peking University and the Beijing swifts circling the sky. 

This is the poster for this years Beijing International Film Festival (BJIFF), which will be held from August 14 to 21. Cinephiles in Beijing will gather at the end of this summer, again, to relive the power of movies. 

The Great Wall, the Red Building and the swifts hovering in the sky carry a lot of meaning, Xu Tao, Deputy Editor-in-Chief of Beijing Radio and Television Station, said at a press conference hosted by the BJIFF organizing committee in Beijing on July 15. 

The Great Wall is the continual root of the Chinese nation’s spirit and an important symbol of the country. The Red Building was the hub of China’s New Culture Movement, which began in 1915. The May Fourth Movement, a patriotic mass movement of students, also originated here in 1919. And the swift is the most beautiful little life in the summer skies of Beijing, and the most faithful witness of the city’s past, present and future. 

“The use of these three elements demonstrates the hallowed mission of memorizing history and conveying faith carried forward by the art of film, leading the audience to see the glorious future arise from the history, Xu added. 

“Making a good movie needs joint efforts from various aspects,” Xu said. “The themed poster pays tribute to the dedicated film practitioners both in front of and behind the stage, as well as to all the movie buffs who come into the theater. 

With the goal of “international level, Chinese characteristics and Beijing style, initiated in 2011, BJIFF aims to boost exchanges among global industry insiders, and has attracted increasing international attention thanks to China’s booming film market. It will provide viewers with a visual feast of cinematic arts, showcasing some of the latest award-winning pieces and festival circuit movies, as well as cinematic landmarks and classics from all over the world.  

A pedestrian passes by a poster for “Detective Chinatown 3” in Beijing on February 17 (XINHUA) 

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China (CPC). The 11th BJIFF will take the celebration of the CPC centenary as its main theme and create a film festival combining both online and offline activities. The organizing committee announced the 15 films selected for the festival awards, including 12 foreign films and three Chinese ones at the press conference. 

The Tiantan Award, the official competition for feature films of the BJIFF, features a wide range of films, from the latest works by some of the world's biggest directors to surprises from new and emerging directors, as well as several premieres. Meanwhile, world famous actress Gong Li will chair this year’s jury at the festival. Finnish director Renny Harlin and well-known Chinese director Wuershan are also part of the award’s international jury. 

In addition to the star-studded attendee lineup, the festival comes packed with activities. Among them, the film screening unit is undoubtedly the most anticipated one by movie fans. This year’s film screening activity will not only resume the previous scale but also set up cinemas outside Beijing for the first time, namely in neighboring Tianjin and Zhangjiakou. The outdoor carnival is expected to become a “night feast” for moviegoers across Beijing. Every night, a film will be screened at several places in the city.  

“The ‘Movie plus’ event during the festival will allow film art to be put on top with more innovative content and new ways of entertainment, Zhang Xiaoguang, Deputy Director of the China Film Archive, said at the press conference. 

Cross-border integration activities will also give play to the unique role of the film festival in driving related industries, serving the general public, promoting the consumer economy, disseminating technological innovation, and promoting traditional culture, according to Zhang. 

There is no doubt that 2020 was labeled by business insiders as one of the worst years in the history of the entertainment industry, considering the COVID-19 pandemic that locked down theaters and furloughed productions all over the world. 

But the Chinese market’s performance showed them there is always light at the end of the tunnel. Given China’s more stringent COVID-19 measures by large, the nation’s film industry has been able to make a swifter comeback and will further develop its overall industrial chain and related products,” Zhang concluded. 

Copyedited by Elsbeth van Paridon 

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