Micro films set to steal the spotlight at Shanghai festival
HONG KONG, June 13 – The 15th Shanghai International Film Festival will not only be celebrating modern Chinese cinemas when the event kicks off this weekend, it will be focusing on the shape of things to come.
SIFF likes to think of itself as the premier annual cinematic event in China, and from June 16 to 24 a whole host of Hollywood and international stars will join their Chinese counterparts on the red carpet.
Jury members for the main prize in Shanghai – the Golden Goblet – include actresses Heather Graham and Li Bingbing, alongside directors Zhang Yang, Bela Tarr and jury head Jean-Jacques Annaud. And organisers say around 300 Chinese and international films will screen at 28 cinemas across the metropolis.
Kicking things off on Saturday is the world premiere of the much-anticipated Painted Skin: The Resurrection – not a prequel nor a sequel to the 2008 hit Painted Skin, according to the filmmakers – but featuring the return of Vicki Zhao, Zhou Xun and Chen Kun in lead roles and seeing Mongolian-born director Wuershan take the reins.
The main prize will be plucked from a field of 17 and, according to Film Business Asia, includes the local police drama Beijing Blues, directed by Gao Qunshu, and Huo Jianqi’s melodrama Falling Flowers, which is set against the backdrop of war-torn Hong Kong.
Chinese audiences are also treated at the festival to a batch of international films not yet screened in the country, and this year they’ll get to see the likes of Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris and the Golden Bear winner from Berlin, Caesar Must Die.
SIFF also hosts a series of industry-only seminars designed to help instigate international co-productions but one of the real highlights of the festival is its sidebar Mobile Film Festival which features “micro” films shot on mobile phones and distributed online – a wildly popular trend across China.
“This year’s film forums feature topics about changes in film marketing methods in a domineering, multimedia industry. CEOs from six domestic video websites in China alongside foreign independent film producers will join the forum,” Tang Lijun, deputy-secretary of SIFF, told China’s Global Times. “This shows our concern about the rising media trend in today’s film industry.”
SIFF has been keen to increase its links to the international film world in recent years, inviting the likes of directors Luc Besson, John Woo and Danny Boyle to attend, as it competes for attention with the now-two-year-old Beijing International Film Festival, held each April. – AFP