Shanghai PRIDE Festival – A Celebration for Chinese LGBTQ People

Website of ShPFF

(Figure 1 Logo of ShPFF)

Shanghai PRIDE Festival (ShPFF) is a volunteer-run, not-for-profile event founded in 2015; it aims to help LGBTQ people in China to find their sense of belongings and spread LGBTQ culture to the public. Considering Chinese LGBTQ’s current situation and its un-legal status, the festival committee created a series of programs besides the film festival and put unique elements to satisfy its audiences. Except running movies, ShPFF provides some outdoor activities such as Pride Run, Pink Brunch, The Girs’ Party and Anti-Sexual Harassment Seminar which are welcomed by its audiences. This article will use ShPFF 2018 as a sample to analyse the influences of ShPFF and try to find what is the crucial element for a film festival like ShPFF.

ShPFF 2018 started on March with a series of surrounding events, and the main film festival began in June. The film festival section includes 39 LGBTQ films from different countries, and there are also numbers of domestic short films from young directors on every day’s competition. The film selection based on the LGBTQ theme which means all the movies are reflecting the LGBTQ issues around the world. Moreover, ShPFF helps Chinese directors to share their LGBTQ film to the audiences, which is very rare since The State Administration of Radio Film and Television of China did not allow to show films with LGBTQ element in the cinema or even online. However, these type of movies have a massive market in China; people want to watch and learn from them. Therefore, ShPFF attracts its audiences from all regions in China to experience the ceremony.

Film festivals cannot live without money, and since ShPFF is a not-for-profile event, the sponsors are quite important for its operation. As we can see in the figure below, ShPFF has multiple sponsors who support them with funds, locations or media power. Moreover, there is a unique point that ShPFF has cooperation with 17 consulates in Shanghai, which means it clutch the attention of other countries. ShPFF could run these countries LGBTQ films to fill in gaps in Chinese LGBTQ films. On the contrary, these countries are willing to spread their cultures to Chinese audiences. These types of sponsorship is a kind of win-win action since both ShPFF could have sufficient support and consulates could increase their influences at the same time.

Sponsors of ShPFF

(Figure 2 Sponsors of ShPFF)

ShPFF makes the LGBTQ theme a hot point in China and creates the phenomenon that LGBT people should celebrate their cultures together for their human right. ShPFF is famous by is multiple events, it combines different areas with the same topic. Probably the essential factor for ShPFF is that ShPFF is a celebration for LGBTQ people in China. As De Valck (2016) mentioned: “Celebrating film festivals means celebrating film as art, film as a political tool, and the film’s invaluable role in society.” For ShPFF, the unreplaceable role is to create a free space for Chinese LGBTQ people to share their feelings and celebrate for themselves.


ShanghaiPRIDE FILM Festival | ShanghaiPRIDE, Viewed 12 September 2018.

Valck, Marijke de. Film Festivals History, Theory, Method, Practice. Routledge, 2016.

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