Jackie Chan to promote action films

By Wei Xi Source:Global Times Published: 2019/7/30 19:23:40

Jackie Chan (second from left) attends the Yungang Forum with international action filmmakers. Photo: Courtesy of Wang Zhongxun

Action films and filmmakers now have a festival especially made for them - the Jackie Chan International Action Film Week, which is now in its fifth year.

On Saturday, the Chinese film Big Shot (2019) was crowned as the best action film and its lead actor Wang Qianyuan was awarded the best action actor, while Indian actress Fatima Sana Shaikh got the best action actress award for her performance in Thugs of Hindostan (2018). Russian film editor Dmitry Korabelnikov was awarded best film editing for T-34 (2018).

Beginning in 2015, the Film Week has invited a rising number of big-name filmmakers and actors every year. This time, the jury consists of Chinese film director Tsui Hark, New Zealand director Martin Campbell, Japanese actor Yasuaki Kurata, and Thai director Prachya Pinkaew.

Starting as a martial arts double and stuntman, Chan said that he knows the hardships action actors face, but they have been given little attention. "For decades I wished to have an action week, inviting action actors and stuntmen all over the world," Chan said. "I hope this film week can provide encouragement and awards for action actors and filmmakers, as well as a worldwide audience in this beautiful city of Datong." 

Chan added that he wanted to name it just "action film week" rather than "Jackie Chan International Action Film Week," which sounds like it is for him. "But my team told me it would be hard to be noticed without having 'Jackie Chan' in its name," Chan said. 

Previously held in Shanghai, it was the second time the film week set its location in Datong, North China's Shanxi Province. A city known for coal mining, Datong has focused on developing tourism over the recent years.

Different from setting its activities indoors, quite a few of them this year were held outdoors, which include the Yungang Forum at the world famous Yungang Grottoes. 

"Datong experienced cultural integration throughout history… and the majority of people here honor martial arts," said Wu Hongwen, mayor of Datong, at the Yungang Forum, when he was explaining why the city is a perfect place for a film week that is tailored to action films and international cooperation.

"We would be glad to serve as the background for filmmakers to carry out their creative ideas," Wu said.

Besides filmmakers, nearly 1,000 Jackie Chan fans from 44 countries were also invited to the film week. 

Bob Engesser from Poland has been a fan of Chan for about 30 years. He said that he used to think of Datong as a city based on the coal mining industry, and that there would be heavy pollution. But after he arrived, he realized it is "a beautiful city" and wishes "to come back some day." 

"Since more foreign tourists are coming over the years, our company provided bilingual introduction materials to us, and I am learning English, too," said Zhang Xinsheng, a taxi driver in Datong.

As a Jackie Chan fan, Zhang said that he was very excited that the Film Week is now in Datong, but he wishes there will be more chances for the local residents to participate and meet their idols in the future.

Along with the development of the film market in China, more and more film festivals have been held across China, especially in second- and third-tier cities, including Xining's FIRST International Film Festival in Northwest China's Qinghai Province, Pingyao International Film Festival in Pingyao, a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site, Shanxi Province, and Hainan International Film Festival in Sanya, Hainan Province.

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