In China, there are few film festivals and one is well-known to the public is Shanghai International Film Festival which is recognized as one of the top three asian film festivals. But why ShangHai Film Festival has few attraction to international film teams excluding Chinese films to compete for the award? The reasons are listed below:
First of all, SIFF has limit influence globally and most famous directors show little interest to this ceremony and only some would bring their precious product to the film festival. Those who are invited usually attend red carpet and present trophies to award winners and in no relation to other sections. Therefore, the absence of great global films are considered as a consequence of strict censorship in China by real movie buff before. Secondly, compared to three European top three film festivals, SIFF has experienced only 25 years and successfully held 19 times. There are less than 30 staff who are responsible for film selection, which is totally not enough for the large amount number of films across more than 100 regions. It is necessary for every staff to watch about 13 films per pay which means the process of film selection is hard and not beneficial for them to appreciate.
Last but not least, the most serious problem in SIFF is the translation for foreign films. It is common to set caption generator in front of screen in theatre and professional translators would be there to help control the title manually. This way of translation distributes to uncertain possibilities, for example, the caption is not correct to match the character on-screen or the machine is suddenly out of control. Once, audiences needed to suffer three times of translation issue till the caption ran normally, that situation actually frustrated audiences and weakened people’s confidence for the next film festival. Also, the translation of dialogue between characters is not concise and accurate as most translators are volunteers from universities. After few months orientation and training, translators have not got enough time to translate and they themselves lack the ability in film major, creating differences in viewing feeling of audiences compared to that of theatrical films.
In conclusion, what can a film festival becomes a significant one and has a huge impact globally is that film festival should not turn into a local ceremony where foreign films are not invited and the gatekeepers should work as hard as they can to select excellent film due to cultural, social, political and technical factors. Film festival should be an occasion for art, not vanity fair. People can find alternative films in film festival and non-commercial products can have the chance to be brought to the public’s visual field.