Beijing International Film Festival may postpone till August to allow foreign guest participation: experts
Published: Mar 22, 2021 08:29 PM
Beijing International Film Festival file photo:VCG

Beijing International Film Festival file photo:VCG

The Beijing International Film Festival (BIFF) is likely to be postponed to August as the world is still under the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic and international travel limit may improve come summer, Chinese film experts and insiders have said.

BIFF, one of the most important international film festivals in China, is usually held in April, but an employee with BIFF who wishes to remain anonymous told the Global Times on Monday that the festival’s schedule has not yet been decided upon yet. 

“A postponement is highly possible as BIFF has not released any news so far. Some rumors on the internet said that the year 2021’s BIFF may be postponed to mid-August and will open on August 14, but that has not been officially confirmed,” Xiao Fuqiu, a film critic based in Shanghai, told the Global Times on Monday. 

In 2020, the 10th BIFF was postponed from August 22 to August 29 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Pandemic prevention and control is still one of the most significant tasks for off-line cultural events,” Xiao added, pointing to the 93rd Academy Awards, which has changed its venues to both the Dolby Theatre and Union Station in Los Angeles.

Some observers say that a possible postponement reflects the film festival’s hope of inviting famous international figures in the film industry to China. However, they also note that this is not up to China but is dependent on how well the pandemic is controlled in other countries such as the US. 

At a time when China is holding up a vaccine lifeline in the global fight against the pandemic, the US, the sole superpower in the world, has neither the will nor the ability to assist other countries and yet has spared no effort to smear China.

Considering this and the slow progress the US is making concerning vaccinations, it is next to impossible that US filmmakers will be able to attend any events in China like the BIFF and the upcoming 24th Shanghai International Film Festival (SIFF) in the near future. 

“Holding the 11th BIFF will be meaningless without the participation of enough international filmmakers and guests, so postponing and waiting for the global pandemic situation to improve might be the best choice,” Xiao noted. 

US monster film Godzilla vs. Kong will be released in the Chinese mainland on Friday alongside a special premiere exhibition in Beijing to be held as part of the events leading up to the 11th BIFF. Currently, the film tops the most anticipated list on Chinese ticketing platform Maoyan. 

SIFF has announced that the 2021 festival will take place from June 11 to June 19, but no specific schedule nor the list of guests have been revealed yet. 

Both BIFF and SIFF need the participation of foreign guests more than ever, as it makes for a good opportunity for global filmmakers to communicate and discuss the future of the film industry as it walks out from under the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Additionally, if foreign guests can come to China and see China’s safe environment, they may gain hope for and confidence in the recovery of the film industries in their own counties, said Xiao. 
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