Chinese director Jia Zhangke establishes Pingyao International Film Festival in his home province of Shanxi

Source:Global Times Published: 2017/10/12 18:43:39

Promotional material for Where Has Time Gone? Photos: IC

Jia Zhangke (center) poses for a picture with Marco Müller (second from right) at the press conference on Monday.

Art film director Jia Zhangke - born in Fenyang, North China's Shanxi Province - announced at a press conference on Monday that he plans to bring a number of films to Pingyao in his home province through the newly established Pingyao International Film Festival (PYIFF). Marco Müller, the renowned film scholar who acted as the director of the Venice and Rome film festivals, has been named as the PYIFF's artistic director.

Scheduled to kick off on October 28 and run until November 4, PYIFF will mainly focus on film screenings. According to organizers, more than 40 films from 18 countries and regions will be shown at the festival. Films will screen in eight sections, including Crouching Tigers, Hidden Dragons, Galas, New Generation China and Best of Fest.

While the Crouching Tigers section will explore new talents with films that are a director's debut or second work, Hidden Dragons will focus specifically on genre films. In the Best of Fest, audience will be able to watch quite a few award-winning films such as this year's Golden Palm award winner The Square by Sweden director Ruben Östlund and Spanish drama Summer 1993 directed by Carla Simón. The latter won the GWFF Best First Feature Award at this year's Berlinale. 

The festival will also host a Jean-Pierre Melville Centennial Retrospective section this year to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the late French filmmaker's birth. A total of 10 films by Melville will be shown, including Le Cercle Rouge (The Red Circle) and L'armée des ombres (Army of Shadows).

At the press conference, Brigitte Veyne, the film/TV/digital/music attaché at the French Embassy to China, said that introducing Melville to Asia was a significant move, because the French director was in turn influenced by Asian directors such as Akira Kurosawa, meanwhile his works influenced Asian directors such as John Woo and Johnnie To.

Where Has Time Gone, the co-produced anthology film featuring short stories by directors from each of the five BRICS countries, will take part in the Special Screenings section.

The festival will also have an award section in which film lovers will be able to vote on films. Organizers announced that they were looking to recruit 50 jury members through the festival's official Sina Weibo account.

When talking about his motivations for establishing the festival, Jia said that aside from hard-core filmgoers, many renowned films go largely unnoticed by the average Chinese moviegoer, which is something he hopes the festival can change.

"Additionally, many young directors from China recently have created high quality films but are not very knowledgeable about the workings of international film festivals and therefore miss out on the chance to make a name for themselves internationally. This is very sad," Jia told media, explaining that he hopes the festival will be able to provide some much-needed experience for young directors.

Newspaper headline: Exploring new talent


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