Posts Tagged ‘beijing independent film festival’

Shelly on Film: Fall Festival Report, Part One: Keeping Independence in Beijing

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

By Shelly Kraicer

Just having a party: This year's Beijing International Film Festival had to take a more casual tone. (photo: ArtInfo)

I’m often asked how it is that I keep track of new Chinese independent films. One answer: just be in China for a few weeks in October and November. The film festival season here is packed right now. Two major indie film festivals have just concluded: the 6th Beijing Independent Film Festival (BIFF, in the Beijing exurb of Songzhuang) and the 8th China Independent Film Festival (in Nanjing). In Beijing itself, we’ve had the 4th First Film Festival (an international festival for films by first-time directors) at various campuses in China including Peking University, and the 6th Chinese Young Generation Film Forum. Coming up is the 5th Chongqing Independent Film and Video Festival (CIFVF).

That’s a lot of films and festivals. Of course there is substantial overlap, especially between the three main indie film festivals (BIFF, CIFF, CIFVF). BIFF and CIFF each had its own issues this year: external and internal conflict that showed just how much pressure independent filmmakers are under in China at the moment. These conflicts, which I’ll describe below, also demonstrated the urgency with which these filmmakers conceive of their practice, their autonomy, their mission, and their very existence.

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Beijing Independent Film Festival Proceeds Under Pressure; Full Program Listed

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

Clarissa Sebag-Montefiore reports for IPS:

The Sixth Beijing Independent Film Festival (BIFF) has had to switch venues twice following pressure by the police, obliging the organisers to inform festival-goers of the last-minute location changes.

BIFF, now in its sixth year, is showing over 50 cutting-edge feature films, documentaries, experimental works and animations in Songzhuang, a village on the outskirts of Beijing which is known as a hub for its avant-garde artistic community. The meddling by the authorities – while stopping short of shutting down the festival itself – has thrown into the spotlight the heavy scrutiny that the independent arts face in China by the one-party state.

Karin Chien, founder of dGenerate Films, a New York-based distribution company that specialises in distributing independent Chinese film to audiences worldwide, says she that was not surprised by the most recent interference from the authorities.

“Authorities caused BIFF to change venues twice, to the point where screenings were being held in the festival’s headquarters,” Chien, who was present at the launch event, wrote to IPS in an email. ‘So when the police showed up to stop the first screening, it wasn’t a surprise. The documentary version of BIFF was canceled by the authorities in May, so I suppose we were all holding our breath to see what would happen this time.”

Read the full report at IPS

Click through to access the full program of The 6th Beijing Independent Film Festival

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