From the producer Xia Wen: Young film festivals inject fresh blood into the film industry

At the international film festivals, young filmmakers are becoming a new landscape that cannot ignore. In particular, in recent years, the performance of young filmmakers from China at the film festivals has been even more remarkable.

Recently, I interviewed a young Chinese producer Xia Wen. She has participated in many film festivals including the China International Film Festival London, the Beijing International Film Festival and the Beijing Youth Film Festival. As a participant in the film industry and a witness to the film festival, she is very experienced.


(Xia Wen)

Q: Referring to “film festival,” what is the first word that you think?
Xia: Judge.
Letting a film show at an international film festival is complicated. We have completed the work of the production part, and then it is a process of judging by professionals and audiences. Of course, the judgment is fair and authoritative. Regardless of the outcome, we must understand our shortcomings and see the strengths of others through the process so that we can make better films.

Q: What role do you think the film festival plays in the creative career of a filmmaker?
Xia: Festival is a glory and a recognized resonance for creators.
The process of creation is lonely. However, the film festival is fair and solemn. It could let us know that it is not alone when you create, and someone will guide you and give you corresponding glory for your efforts, especially for behind-the-scenes workers.
Meanwhile, we also hope to communicate with more practitioners. The film festival provides an excellent platform for us to learn from each other and compete with each other.


(Emperor’s Holidays, Xia Wen participated in the film, released in 2015, China)

Q: In recent years, many people criticize the three major film festivals in Europe are “out of time.” In contrast, many young film festivals increasingly favored by the film industry. What do you think?
Xia: First, I am pleased that the young film festivals are very popular, which means that the film industry has more inclusiveness for movies. The young film festivals not only give new filmmakers more opportunities, but also allow the talents of new filmmakers not to be buried, and injects fresh blood into the film industry.
The European film festivals are not “outdated,” but their strong cultural heritages have mistaken for “lack of creativity” after being hit by the new elements of the current film. I think that they are the most substantial support for our young filmmakers.

Q: Many film festivals have set up their funds to support new directors. Have you participated in some support projects?
Xia: Recently, I have a film that I wrote the script myself entered the venture capital program at the Changchun Film Festival this year.
I have heard that some VC projects were successful, and some failed. This is normal. Investment is inherently risky, and the process of filmmaking as teamwork is more dangerous. In particular, filmmaking teams are often new teams formed by a project, and the operations are sometimes not stable enough.
I suggest that the festival fund can pay more attention to projects created by the solid team so that the risk is lower and the fund can develop in a long line.

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(Xia Wen in Changchun Film Festival, China, 2018)

Xia Wen, born in Xi’an, Shanxi Province in 1990, mainly participated in the films: My Robot Boyfriend, Good Morning Princess, Emperor’s Holidays, The Eight Doors of the Golden Compass.

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