Shanghai International Film Festival is the only international A-category film festival in China, which has attracted filmmakers from all over the world since its establishment in 1993. In addition to awards, film forums, film shows and film trading markets, Shanghai International Film Festival cooperates with colleges and universities in Shanghai to provide internship programs for students majoring in film and media to train a new generation of Chinese film industry workers.
Although the number of Chinese films and box office are increasing, the representative works of Chinese films have not come forth in the international film festivals in recent years. In the Chinese film market filled with commercial films, Chinese films experienced a turbulent period from 2010 to 2014, and “fast-food” films flooded the film market. With the improvement of Chinese audiences’ taste and the stratification of film watching, the Chinese film market began to be eager for excellent works. However, most of the directors and creators who are known in the international film industry are still the fifth and sixth generation of Chinese directors, such as Zhang Yimou, Chen Kaige, and Jia Zhangke. They are still active in China’s film industry, but there are few representative works like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and cutting-edge directors. Therefore, China’s film industry has issued a number of supporting policies to train a new generation of young directors. Shanghai International Film Festival is the only A-category film festival in China. Since 2014, each session has set up “New Chinese Director Program” master class project and venture capital project to train a new generation of young directors for the Chinese film industry. The director program accepts on-line registration every year and selects 30 young directors to participate in the project by screening the short film provided by the registers. Livia Stewart, Philippe Muyl, Shunji Iwai, Cao Yu, Dave Green, and Ki-duk Kim have all been professors of the master class to provide technical and academic support to the students. Finally, three of the 30 students will be selected to cooperate with the international film industry masters to make a long film. Such an opportunity is attractive enough for the new generation in the film industry. Therefore, since the start of this program in 2014, Shanghai International Film Festival has become one of the hottest programs in every film festival and its role has also been slowly showed. China’s new generation of directors, such as Wen Shipei and Wen Muye, have participated in the training program. This program not only provides financial support to young directors, but also helps them become more professional filmmakers or storytellers in all aspects, such as directing ability and shooting technology, as opposed to various kinds of venture-capital programs that support young directors in the Chinese film industry. At the same time, because the finally elected 3 students can cooperate with the masters to make the first long film, such support pays more attention to a young director’s career, which not only helps them open the career of director, but leads their experience and growth. It can be seen that Shanghai International Film Festival not only makes achievements in the film cultural exchange and film business, but also provides a good opportunity for learning and development for a new generation of practitioners in Chinese film industry. After all, there are few such lucky dogs. Although there are a lot of similar director programs or venture capital projects to support young directors in China, only a few are really valued and go towards the career of director. Although there are several cutting-edge directors, such as Wen Shipei, Wen Muye and Xin Yukun, there are still a few who can hold a place in commercial or artistic films. There are also tragedy cases such as Hu Bo. Therefore, how to integrate various kinds of Chinese director support projects and train young directors more practically has become a problem worth discussing in the Chinese film industry.