Archive for the ‘Film Festivals’ Category

Chinese Independent Film Lives On – A Photo Essay by Karin Chien

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

Earlier this month, dGenerate Films’ Founder and President Karin Chien attended the 11th China Independent Film Festival (CIFF) in Nanjing. Many did not think the festival could happen.

In 2012, CIFF was shut down by the authorities. In 2013, the organizers carefully screened only 10 feature films and one documentary. Then, earlier this year, the Beijing Independent Film Festival (BIFF), known to show more politically sensitive films than CIFF, was violently repressed, the organizers detained, and their archive of over 1500 independent films confiscated.

Yet, from November 15-20, CIFF’s organizers managed to pull off the only festival of independent Chinese films in mainland China this year.

Below, Karin chronicles her visit to CIFF, as well as to the BIFF offices and to the opening ceremony of a new festival, the 2nd China Women’s Film Festival.

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Documentary director Xu Tong (FORTUNE TELLER) answers questions about his latest film CUT OUT THE EYES, which tells the story of a blind traveling musician in Inner Mongolia. A classroom at Nanjing University of the Arts served as one of four screening venues for the 2014 China Independent Film Festival (CIFF). Because the festival was not widely publicized, in order not to draw attention from the authorities, the majority of the audience were students who saw the posters and programs around campus. (more…)

Beijing Independent Film Festival: Video and Summary of Reports

Friday, September 5th, 2014

The Chinese Film Festival Studies Research Network has posted a helpful collection of links to news reports, statements and other information related to the closing of the Beijing Independent Film Festival last August. Also included are statements from festival organizer Li Xianting listing a timeline of his interactions with authorities prior to the shutdown and an official response (in Chinese) from the Festival to the authorities.  The site also links to a Chinese-language editorial by independent film producer and programmer Zhang Xianmin on the current difficulties facing independent film festivals in China, originally published in the Chinese edition of the New York Times.

Scott E. Myers, PhD Candidate of the University of Chicago, also contributed his first-person account of what happened on the day of the shutdown. Below is video footage of locals confronting festival attendees that day, posted on the YouTube account of filmmaker and festival organizer Wang Wo.

Beijing Independent Film Festival Shut Down by Authorities

Sunday, August 24th, 2014
Chinese security guards stand on duty near a police car at a junction leading to the venue for the Beijing Independent Film Festival in Beijing Saturday, Aug. 23, 2014. (photo: Ng Han Guan, AP)

Chinese security guards stand on duty near a police car at a junction leading to the venue for the Beijing Independent Film Festival in Beijing Saturday, Aug. 23, 2014. (photo: Ng Han Guan, AP)

The Associated Press reports that the Beijing Independent Film Festival has been shut down by Chinese authorities:

Chinese authorities blocked an annual independent film festival from opening Saturday, seizing documents and films from organizers and hauling away two event officials in a sign that Beijing is stepping up its already tight ideological controls.

Li Xianting, a film critic and founder of the Li Xianting Film Fund, the organizer of the Beijing Independent Film Festival, said police searched his office and confiscated materials he had gathered over more than 10 years. Li and the festival’s artistic director, Wang Hongwei, were detained by police Saturday night but later released, according to their supporters.

The festival, which began in 2006, has seen severe police obstruction over the past few years, but this year’s crackdown is far more serious, Wang said.

“In the past few years, when they forced us to cancel the festival, we just moved it to other places, or delayed the screenings,” he said. “But this year, we cannot carry on with the festival. It is completely forbidden.”

Read the full report from Didi Tang at the Associated Press.

Chinese Film Festival Studies Update

Monday, August 11th, 2014

Chris Berry and Luke Robinson share the following update to the Chinese Film Festival Studies Website:

NEWS: In July, media in and outside China reported that the county of
Anji, in Zhejiang Province, announced that it would be partnering with the
Cannes Film Festival to build a new “film city”. Inevitably, this will
apparently include an international film festival. We link on the website
to the original China Daily report on this project. In addition, Chris
Berry, one of the original network project, has just published a review in
Senses of Cinema of this year’s Far East Film Festival, which took place
between April and May in Udine, Italy. We have a link to the report on the
website.

ARCHIVE: With the help of Meng Jing, we have now compiled a bibliography
of writing in Chinese on Chinese film festivals, covering academic and
non-academic writing. This file can now be accessed under the Archives
section of the website. This bibliography is partial and ongoing, and is
primarily derived from searches of academic databases, film journals, and
online search engines. If you have suggestions for articles, blog posts or
commentary that we have missed, please contact us directly so that we can
update it!

Chinese Film Fest Studies Update

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

An update from Chris Berry and Luke Robinson, organizers of the Chinese Film Fest Studies website:

In the past two months, news has emerged of details for the Qingdao
International Film Festival, slated to commence in 2017. Both the
Hollywood Reporter and Screen Daily reported on the organisational line-up
announced for the festival, which is the brainchild of the Dalian-based
Wanda Group. In addition, the 17th Shanghai International Film Festival
took place in June. This year, there was particular controversy
surrounding accusations that the festival “fixed” a press conference
around a sensitive local film whose star had recently been arresting for
soliciting. FilmBiz Asia has a report on this kerfuffle. Finally, Kiki Yu
Tianqi (University of Nottingham Ningbo) has just published a report on
last year’s Guangzhou International Documentary Film Festival in Studies
in Documentary Film, which we link to here.

(more…)

Sydney Film Festival Spotlights Variety of Chinese Cinema

Monday, May 19th, 2014

The 2014 Sydney Film Festival (June 4-15, 2014) includes a special showcase of Chinese cinema, curated by esteemed critic and programmer Shelly Kraicer. The program details are as follows:

China continues to be one of the most compulsively fascinating countries on the planet: it’s not an exaggeration to suggest that China’s future may very well be our future. Chinese movies lay out spellbinding ways to try to grasp that country’s complexities, its unfathomable beauty and its ongoing problems.

(more…)

Chinese Film Fest Studies website update

Friday, May 2nd, 2014

Chris Berry and Luke Robinson of the Chinese Film Festival studies website (http://www.chinesefilmfeststudies.org) announce the following updates to the site:

NEWS: We have news here of the Washington DC Chinese Film Festival, due
to take place later this year in the USA. In addition, the 4th edition of
the Beijing International Film Festival is drawing to a close. There has
been general coverage in the trade press – we include here a link to an
article in The Hollywood Reporter on the festival film awards, along with
a gallery of photos – but Oliver Stone’s comments on politics and the
Chinese film industry were also widely discussed. A link to Screen Daily’s
report (behind paywall) on this incident is included.

GALLERIES: A small gallery of photos to accompany the report from our
second network meeting and accompanying one-day conference, both held at
Hong Kong University, have been added.

ARCHIVE: We include here a link to an interview in Chinese with Dr Lin
Wen-Chi of the Taipei Film Archive, organiser of the Golden Harvest
Awards, conducted by network member Ming-Yeh Rawnsley. Ming-Yeh is
researching the Golden Harvest Awards as part of her work with the network.

EVENTS: Finally, a written report on the second network workshop, and the
one-day conference that followed – both of which took place at Hong Kong
University on March 31st and April 1st, 2014 – is included under Events.
It’s accessible both as an html page and as a downloadable pdf.

Chinese Visual Festival in London Announces Lineup

Monday, April 14th, 2014
A Touch of Sin (2012, Jia Zhangke)

A Touch of Sin (2012, Jia Zhangke)

The London Chinese Visual Festival (CVF) is proud to announce its 2014 edition, which runs from May 7th – 18th at King’s College London, with events also being held at Riverside Studios in collaboration with DocHouse.

For 2014, the festival is thrilled to welcome two of the most important filmmakers in modern independent Chinese language cinema, Jia Zhangke and Pema Tseden. In addition to a preview of his latest work, the award winning A Touch of Sin at the BFI, Jia will also host a very special screening session at King’s of his rarely seen short films. Acclaimed Tibetan director Pema Tseden opens the festival with Old Dog, as well as screening his other works and taking part in panel discussion sessions on Tibetan Culture and filmmaking. CVF is also delighted to be collaborating with Newcastle University in holding a celebration of ten years of the China Independent Film Festival (CIFF), one of the most vital and enduring Chinese language film events. To help mark this remarkable anniversary, CVF will be hosting a special animation session, as well as welcoming CIFF’s Cao Kai and Zhang Xianmin for what promises to be a fascinating panel discussion.

(more…)

Updates from Chinese Film Fest Studies

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

Chinese film scholars Chris Berry and Luke Robinson, who manage the website Chinese Film Fest Studies, offer the following recent updates to the site:

NEWS: We have an item via Screen Daily that discusses the popularity of
the French Online Film Festival in China. Additionally, we have
information on the tenth anniversary celebrations of the Nanjing-based
China Independent Film Festival, which will be taking place in May in the
UK. As part of the celebrations, films from the festival will be being
screened in Newcastle, Nottingham and London, with directors Feng Yan and
Pema Tseden in attendance. There will also be a symposium and exhibition
at Newcastle, at which Zhang Xianmin (BFA) and Cao Kai (CIFF) will both
speak. Details about the events in Newcastle and Nottingham can be found
on the website, under News. Further news about the London events to follow.

(more…)

Punto de Vista Film Festival Celebrates Films of Pema Tseden

Monday, February 17th, 2014
Pema Tseden (Wanma Caidan)

Pema Tseden (Wanma Caidan)

The 2014 edition of the Punto de Vista Film Festival of Navarra, Spain, is an international seminar focusing on works of documentary from around the world. This year’s seminar spotlights the career of Tibet-based filmmaker Pema Tseden (Wanma Caidan) and his three feature films, The Silent Holy Stones, The Search, and Old Dog. (The latter two films are part of the dGenerate Films collection.)

As part of the program, the Festival commissioned a booklet featuring an interview with Pema Tseden by film scholar and critic Zhang Ling and an original essay appreciation of his films by filmmaker and critic Dan Sallitt. The following excerpt of Sallitt’s essay is reprinted here with permission of the Festival and the author:

Pema Tseden’s misfortune is that he will likely be pigeonholed for the foreseeable future as the most important Tibetan filmmaker; whereas he required only a few films to establish himself as one of the best and most confident filmmakers anywhere in the world.

His first feature, The Silent Holy Stones (2005), presents all the elements of Tseden’s style in mature form: a weighty compositional sense that combines spectacular depiction of landscape and a precise deployment of his human subjects; the use of strongly conceptual material in which the central concept is overstated and reiterated, both for comedy and as a distancing effect; a humorous use of repeated actions and fixity of behavior; a figural approach to performance that renders the difference between actors and non-actors immaterial; and a pessimistic vision of the frailty of spiritual values in the face of worldly desire.

2009’s The Search follows The Silent Holy Stones in its focus on the role of fiction and storytelling in our lives, but the later film veers away from conventional narrative and adopts an abstract, cyclical structure that seems at once primitive and experimental.

After this feint toward the boundaries of narrative, Tseden’s most recent film, Old Dog (2011), unexpectedly applies his approach and concerns to an elemental drama that, through the dogged, minimalist cadences of Tseden’s story construction and the grandeur of his compositions, acquires the force of mythology.

The Punto de Vista Film Seminar will be held from February 19-22 in Pamplona. Details here.