I was lucky enough to attend 2018 Shanghai International Film Festival (SIFF) this year. I went to SIFF last year as well, and I can feel that more and more people are participating in this event. It was harder to purchase tickets this year than last year. I had to buy tickets of the films I want to watch exactly at the time when they are available for purchase online. Otherwise, I would probably miss the opportunity to watch it in cinema. A total of 492 Chinese and foreign films were screened at the festival this year, with 1,621 screenings and 468,178 tickets purchased by viewers which was an increase of nearly 40,000 compared with last year. Although the World Cup was taking place in the same period, peoples were still enthusiastic about the screenings. The increase in the number of tickets sold, on the one hand, is a result of the fact that the festival has over the years developed a large number of moviegoers that make a solid customer base; and on the other hand, it reflects the strong desire to get to know the world cinema and for a better spiritual life.
Shanghai has a profound film culture. At the end of December 1895, the Lumière brothers screened their short films, including The Arrival of a Train, at a café in downtown Paris, marking the birth of motion picture ,and only half a year later, The Arrival of a Train and other films traveled across the ocean to Shanghai. In Xuyuan, Hongkou District, people in Shanghai for the first time saw the “Western Opera” ,and the story of Shanghai and film began. 122 years later, Shanghai announced an action plan to develop the “Shanghai Culture” brand. With a history of over a hundred years, Shanghai’s film industry is undoubtedly an important part of this plan; further development of the Shanghai International Film Festival is of course also listed as one of pillars of the plan. I can clearly feel that this year’s SIFF carefully refined and integrated some elements of the “Shanghai Culture” brand such as Jiangnan culture and Shanghai-style culture in various main activities, which makes me feel the influence of the keyword “Shanghai Culture”.
Today, when China is steadily moving from being a big market to a powerhouse for film, the Shanghai International Film Festival is becoming a unique brand with influence, attractiveness and competitiveness. Many screening units familiar to audiences such as SIFF Tribute to Masters, SIFF Classics, 4K Restoration, SIFF Highlights, Spectrum, etc. fully demonstrate the dynamics of world cinema and the diversity of the countries’ cultures. The screenings cover many films from around the world made in different periods to meet audiences’ need for diversified options.