China's top film festival opens, igniting hope the global film industry is recovering

By Chen Xi Source: Global Times Published: 2020/8/25 8:21:52

Poster of 10th Beijing International Film Festival Photo: Screenshot of Sina Weibo

Cooperation between Chinese and foreign filmmakers which suffered hugely since the COVID-19 pandemic, is getting a morale boost with Monday’s opening of the 10th Beijing International Film Festival, organizers say.

The number of coproductions between China and other countries in 2020 will be far fewer than the 95 coproduction applications received in 2019. 

Cooperation between Chinese mainland filmmakers and Hong Kong and Taiwan studios has not been greatly affected, said Liu Chun, manager of the China Film Co-production Cooperation at the Sino-Foreign Film Co-production Forum. 

Data shows that as of Wednesday, Chinese film authorities had received 39 China-foreign coproduction applications including one with the US, one with the UK and two with Japan. Thirty applications have been filed for co-productions between mainland filmmakers and those based in Hong Kong. 

Japanese director Shunji Lwai said at a forum that the coronavirus outbreak is very unfortunate as three of his films which were scheduled to be released in Japan have to be postponed. His film Last Letter, is a China-Japan coproduction featuring Chinese actors Hu Ge and Zhou Xun. 

Photo:Li Hao/GT

Finnish director Renny Harlin said even though COVID-19 brought a lot of challenges to filmmakers, he still managed to complete a film in Finland and is filming another in Bulgaria. 

Having cooperated with many Chinese actors including Jackie Chan and Fan Bingbing in film Skiptrace, Harlin recalled his good experiences working in China. “I cannot wait to return to Beijing…We work together, and anything can be possible” he said.

No Indian guests have been included on the guest list despite the growing influence of Indian films in China.

In 2019, the festival held the China-India Film Co-production Dialogue, which was attended by Indian actors Shah Rukh Khan and Kabir Khan. An exhibition of Indian films posters was also held at the festival.

Several Chinese film experts said they believe the China-India border clash behind the lack of Indian guests.

Shi Wenxue, a film critic and a teacher at the Beijing Film Academy, told the Global Times that in 2019 some Canadian films and guests were not included in the festival due to the Meng Wanzhou case. 

“Film is a combination of art, technology, economics, and society. Film festivals also consider society and politics,” said Shi.


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