“FIRST”—— What A Real Film Festival Looks Like

People who pay more attention to Chinese domestic art films and independent films should have heard about the name “FIRST” from some media reports in recent years. In my eyes, this is what the domestic film festival should look like. You may wonder what “FIRST” is? The answer is “Xining FIRST Youth Film Exhibition”.


However, a bit awkward and ironic fact is that such a good film festival at present cannot be called “film festival”, but can only be called “film exhibition”. The reason is that the film festival sponsored by our people like FIRST cannot reach the scale that can only be called “movie show” at present. However, this has become an advantage of FIRST. Unlike the well-known festivals, which are dominated by strong governments, “FIRST” has no grand speeches, no formal opening and closing ceremonies such meaningless decoration. What FIRST has is just movies and people who love films. Cui Yongyuan said that this is the cleanest Film Festival he had ever saw in China. The so-called “cleanliness” here is pure. In recent years, more and more young directors have come to prominence on this stage. Xin Yukun’s “Labyrinth of the Heart,” which won the FIRST Best Picture and Best Director Award, was the highest-rated Chinese film in Douban. Zhang Dalei’s “August” won the Golden Horse Award for Best Picture. The director of “I’m not the God of Medicine” Wen Muye is also famous from FIRST. It is no exaggeration to say that in recent years, FIRST has become the most important part of Chinese independent films. From here, the works are more and more frequently appeared in front of the public, attracting more people in the industry concern.

For a film festival, nothing is more important than a good movie. To judge whether a film festival is going well or not, there are only two points to think about: one is whether it can show enough good films, the other is whether the main reviewer can select good works that will appeal to the audience. Fortunately, FIRST has insisted on these two points over the years. Although it is only a young film festival, it has already acquired the vision and demeanor of the whole Chinese film circle. In the selection of judges, not blindly seek fame, but a very targeted annual invitation to photography, music, editing, art and other well-known film positions to participate in the evaluation, so as to ensure that a film as comprehensive as possible to judge the pros and cons. Such careful consideration and a highly professional attitude are the reasons why FIRST can pick out good movies.


What FIRST emphasizes is the youthful vigor of young people. Unlike most movie festivals with solemn slogans, FIRST’s slogan is “wild”. Because the vitality of this young man has given the film festival an atmosphere of hard film festival. And one of the most important qualities that these young people who love movies bring to the festival is respect and love for movies.  This respect and love is not simply to make the festival more luxurious and extravagant, nor to gain more media spread , but to implement in the selection, exhibition, screening, offline communication and so on. So, in my opinion, FIRST is just what a film festival looks like.

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