Youth and film festival in China: Challenges and Opportunity

The film industry in China has become one of the fastest markets around the world. However, the demand for the filmmaker talents has exceeded the current talent pools, especially for the core talent, such as talented directors. Currently, In China, many festivals company are hunting for the young filmmakers to locate a more diverse filmmaking industry and introduce fresh ideas generated from young talent. To achieve that, like other countries in the world, there are many youth filmmaker-supporting programs launched in China’s film industry. Before talking that, it is worth mentioning some difficulties faced by the young directors in the process of making the film and career gateway in China.

Young director’s plight in China has also been one of the most significant issues. A report investigating China’s youth film director in 2017 reveal their current situation regarding their film career and society. Thirty young directors were interviewed, among them, 83% were the man and 17% are female. About 75% of them presented their debuts at the film festival, which indicated that participating in the film festival has become the essential way to bring them into the public. Besides, the most challenge part in pursuing their career is that funding issue. On the one hand, regarding life, 40% of the interviewees said they could not afford themselves or the family by making the film. Only two young directors said they could generate high income from their movie. On the other hand, regarding film investment, only 40% represented they debuts were invested from the professional filmmaking company, and 22% received the investment from private investors. Also, there were up to 38% has generated the investment from themselves to produce the first film.

As I mentioned above, in China, there are many young film director-supporting programs are introduced into the film industry. During the past decade, there are 28 youth directors supporting plan announced, including more than 2 billion RMB funding. From renewed film directors, particular supporting young director funding sector based on the famous film festival, to hosting youth film festival, there are many opportunities for the young directors.

For example, China’s famous director and screenwriter- Jia Zhangke initiated a program named “Wing Project” in 2010 to support the young talent directors by raising billions into film investment.


(Zhangke Jia and Wings Project, photo credit:

Shanghai International Film Festival and Beijing International Film festival, the two important film festival in China also launched the annually youth supporting project named “Venture Capital (Chuang Tou Hui). Meanwhile, All sectors regard the young filmmaker in First Youth Film Festival. All of them aim at offering more financial capital and industry support into young filmmakers.


(SIFF Project 2018 for young directors, photo credit:

However, Ironically, although young filmmakers can receive financial supporting, they still cannot find enough marketing space in domestic cinemas. Therefore, many of them prefer to bring their film oversea and participate in the overseas film festival to win awards and sell overseas copyright. It has also become the main commercial loop for many young directors. Besides, In China, apart from government, private enterprises, the financial support from Film Festival is only accounted 9.7%.

Young directors always consider as the future of the film industry. However, the remain challenges in pursuing their career have forced young director, the functions of the film festival, private investor, or the whole industry in the society to continually search for the proper way to support the young filmmaker’s future.


The investigation of the young director in China 2017, Huanqiu, viewed 27 August 2018, (In Chinese)

Who did the 28 domestic youth director supporting programs support in the past decade?, Renmin Wang, viewed 24 August 2018, (In Chinese)

Yeh, E.Y.Y. and Davis, D.W., 2008. Re-nationalizing China’s film industry: case study on the China Film Group and film marketization. Journal of Chinese Cinemas2(1), pp.38-40.

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