Beijing film festival to welcome back foreign filmmakers in person

Beijing film festival to welcome back foreign filmmakers in person
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6 April 2023
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The Organizing Committee of the 13th Beijing International Film Festival (BJIFF) held a press conference on Monday, announcing that the 13th BJIFF will take place in person, April 22 to 29, with China's eminent director Zhang Yimou agreeing to serve as the jury president for the festival's prestigious Tiantan Award.

According to organizers, this year's competitions have seen a record-breaking number of entries: 1,488 entries from 93 countries and regions were submitted. The finalists have been selected from renowned and up-and-coming directors worldwide, including: "Adiós Buenos Aires" (Germany/Argentina), "Ciao" (China), "Driving Madeleine" (France), "Lost in the Stars" (China), "Men of Deeds" (Romania/Bulgaria), "Scrapper" (Britain), "Sisters" (Latvia/Italy), "The Lulus" (France), "The Man Without Guilt" (Slovenia/Italy/Croatia), "The Punishment" (Chile/Argentina), "The Shadowless Tower" (China), "Time Out" (Belgium/France), "To Catch A Killer" (USA), "Totem" (Mexico/Denmark/France), and "Until Branches Bend" (Canada).

Chinese director Zhang Yimou will head the international jury panel, leading members to decide on the winners of the ten awards, including the prestigious Tiantan Award. The other jurors have not yet been revealed. Zhang, whose latest period comedy-drama "Full River Red" grossed a stunning 4.54 billion yuan in China, will also hold a masterclass during the festival. 

In addition to the competition section and awards, the 13th BJIFF will feature a wide range of events and activities to attract visitors to the festival and Beijing. These include the traditional components of the Opening Ceremony, Beijing Film Panorama, Theme Forum, Beijing Film Market, Film Carnival, Beijing College Student Film Festival, and the Closing and Awards Ceremony, all of which will take place in person. Furthermore, "Film+," an interactive event, will also be held offline. Meanwhile, the "Online BJIFF" will continue to offer its services, including screenings, interactive events, and video-on-demand. "Online Screenings" and "Online Video-on-Demand" functions will also be available online via the iQiyi platform.

The Chinese film market got off to a great start during the 2023 Spring Festival period, with many Chinese filmmakers achieving box office successes and critical acclaim. Following China's successful COVID-19 prevention measures and policy adjustments, foreign filmmakers are returning to the Beijing festival after a three-year hiatus due to the pandemic. More than 200 Chinese and foreign guests are expected to attend the red carpet and opening ceremony to celebrate the filmmakers, reflect on the past few years, express gratitude to audiences, and share their hopes for the future, according to the organizers.

"Beijing 2022," the official film of the Beijing Winter Olympics and executively produced by Zhang Yimou and directed by Lu Chuan, will serve as the opening film of the upcoming BJIFF. 

One of the most anticipated events of the BJIFF is the Beijing Film Panorama, which this year will feature over 160 films from various genres, themes, and countries across 27 cinemas and theaters. The showcase will highlight the BJIFF's international vision, artistic sense, and humanistic care for the audience, including 12 restored classics, such as "Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me" and "Rouge," eight "WB 100" classics like "The Shawshank Redemption" and "Casablanca," and approximately 45 official selections from international film festivals over the past two years. The first batch of screening titles was unveiled online on Monday, creating a buzz and generating excitement among moviegoers.

As China transitions from a country with a large number of films to a film powerhouse, this year's Theme Forum at the BJIFF aims to elevate the "Film Power Forum" to a higher level via three themes: "China's Stories in Film," "Cultural Exchange through Film," and "Exploration, Pursuit, and Creation of Realistic Films." Influential domestic and foreign guests from the industry will be invited. In addition to the Theme Forum, the festival will also feature the China Film Investment and Financing Summit, the Young Filmmakers Forum, and the China Film Capital Development Forum.

This year's Beijing Film Market, which aims to connect creators and the market, will move to Langyuan Station in Beijing's Chaoyang District. A record high of 874 entries were submitted for BJIFF Project Pitches. This year, its jury panel boasts an impressive lineup, including director Peter Chan as president and director and screenwriter Zhang Ji, actress and executive producer Yao Chen, director Wen Muye, and actor Huang Xuan as members. BJIFF will also actively promote participation from fresh graduates in and outside of Beijing by hosting the first BJIFF Job Fair for graduates and enterprises. In addition, a cultural derivative exhibition will be set up to promote the development and sales of film merchandise and help drive cultural consumption growth.

The 13th BJIFF, under the guidance of the China Film Administration, is organized by China Media Group and the People's Government of Beijing Municipality, with support from the Beijing Municipal Film Administration, the Beijing Municipal Radio and Television Bureau, the Beijing Radio & Television Station (BRTV), the Huairou District People's Government of Beijing Municipality, and Beijing Enterprises Group Company Limited. This year's festival is themed around "Sharing Culture, Shared Future," aiming to build a global community with a shared future based on films and promoting the development and prosperity of the international film community through "China's solution" and "Beijing's vitality." The festival is leading the way in terms of returning to normal, offline international film festivals in the country and hopes to create an innovative and forward-thinking space for the film industry overall.

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