Programming, this word as it is explained in dictionary that refers to the action or process of scheduling something, especially radio or television programs, which means to arrange programs according to a specific plan or schedule. As for the film festival, programming or curating is an aesthetic practice and an essential part of film culture that can be found in film clubs, program and art house cinemas, in exhibition contexts and most obviously in film festivals, as a result, programming is vital to the entire procedure of preparing variety of activities in film festivals. That is to say, a film festival can not live without well programming.
In early years, programming was less important because of the quota system, for the reason that the film festival was the national showcases. However, programming is known to us all that nowadays programming is becoming more and more important to the film festival, even it could be the most significant element of it. For the reason that programming is the core of every types of film festivals in the world, at the same time, it also decides on the identity of the film festival. Programming includes several sectors, they are discover films, find audiences, curatorship and exhibition, sponsorship and marketing, purpose and the objective of the festival, cater to a loyal audience, all of them are indispensible.
As for the Shanghai International Film&Television Festival(SIFTF) held two months ago, which reflects the importance of programming very obviously, the general condition of it though was not as good as other international film festivals, it is still acceptable. To be more specific, from my perspective, for the first part of it, in the selection of the movies, SIFF was different from other film festivals who is of the same level of it. For example, the organizers of the film festival prepared a lot of films with special meanings, such as ‘Dopo la Guerra’, ‘The Guardians’, ‘Le Retour du Heros’ and so on, although these movies may a little bit niche, they still put them in the section of screening. Secondly, in the section of seminar, many experts, scholars and filmmakers from all of the world gathered in Shanghai, in order to exchange ideas with each other, which shows that the active attitude of the organizers towards this film festival, for it is a place that provided for all kinds of people to express themselves, no matter who is expert or just a big fan of film. Thirdly, from the perspective of the marketing, what the Shanghai International Film and Television Festival did was generally fine, for the reason that the development of it followed the ‘two-wheel drive’ mode of art and business. According to international experiences, the key to the market-oriented operation of the film festival is to give full play to the commercial functions of it, to maximize the attraction of the best film works at home and abroad and the most powerful film companies, and to achieve the core competitive advantages of the film festival itself.