The most famous film festival in China is the Golden Rooster and the Hundred Flowers Film Festival. Even year for Golden Rooster prize and odd year for Hundred Flowers prize. Moreover, Rooster prize is nominated by professional critics and Hundred Flowers is decided by audients. In recent years, the Hundred Flowers prize is doubted by audients because they think some prizes are not worth it values. Based on this, I have this interview with Mr. Wu, one film investor in China.
Q: What is the position of mainland film festivals in the film market?
A: Compared to mainland film festivals, the market cares more about film festivals in Hong Kong and Taiwan. In recent years, actors and actress still need film festival to attract attention and the prizes are important to them, for directors it seems they seldom need such opportunities.
Q: Will the market attempt to send films to international film festivals?
A: Definitely. Now many major filmmaking companies will sponsor foreign film festivals such as Cannes film festivals or Berlin film festivals. Meanwhile, they send their films for competitions. The chance to win the prize depends on the film topic, sometimes if they fail, they may get an out of competition prize instead.
Q: What about your films?
A：The last year, our company has a film The Storm Looming. During the promoting period, we try to attempt Cannes, and then we win two prizes in Tokyo International Film Festival, The best actor award In Competition and Best Artistic Contribution in Competition. Our movie is the only Chinese film in competition. However, domestic audiences don’t acknowledge this.
Q: Why audiences don’t acknowledge? The film or the film festival?
A: The film. To be honest, our audiences’ film taste is not very high. Some popular movies in China I think they are more like the short sketch combine with online jokes. You know Jiang Wen right? His movies are really good but most of them lose money. All the movies I invested which make money are the movies cater to the audience’s tastes. Except for competitions inside the movie industry, other entertainment industries are our competitors. The time cost of audiences are too high, they prefer to watch TV series or play games at home rather than go to cinemas. It is difficult to make money on movies nowadays.
In my opinion, the abilities of commercial films to make money is more powerful than literary films even in the global aspect. Making money is important for any industry but beyond this, film festivals offer the chance for many non-mainstream films to be seen. Richards argues that film festivals will always be the primary means of exposure in LGBT communities (2016, p.137). Maybe these potential exhibit chance encourage filmmakers to continue producing different kinds of films in China.
Richards, S 2016, ‘ Proud in the middle ground: how the creative industries allow the Melbourne queer film festival to bring queer content to audiences ‘, Studies in Australasian Cinema, vol. 10, no. 1, pp. 129-142, doi: 10.1080/17503175.2016.1140467