The 21st Shanghai International Film Festival


This year, FIAPF newly established the Film Festival Committee. The Shanghai International Film Festival and the Cannes Film Festival has become the only two members directly designated by FIAPF, which will establish the authority of the Shanghai International Film Festival in the world movie industry. The status also reflects the increasing influence of Shanghai’s international culture.

As of June 3, the 21st Shanghai International Film Festival’s film collection received 3,447 films from 108 countries and regions; there is an increase of 919 compared to the previous session. The number has increased by 36.3%, which is a highlight of the professionalism, fairness, and authority that the Shanghai International Film Festival has always adhered to. As one of the only two A-level film festivals in Asia, the Shanghai Film Festival is continually seeking new changes and outlets, and it has also caused mixed comments. Although some senior filmmakers pointed out that the Shanghai International Film Festival features are not clear enough, it lacks a professional filmmaker system, due to the identity of the international A-type film festival, the level of the participating films is also uneven, but its “international color” is still considerable.


Looking at the materials of the previous Shanghai Film Festival, I found that SIFF has a relatively large “international” posture from its beginning. There is a considerable quota of internationally renowned film award judges among the judges, and new foreign faces often occupy the important awards, such as actresses, best films, best directors, etc., Chinese actors or Chinese films do not have much “home court advantage.” The chairman of the jury of the Golden Jubilee Award also has a trend from “domestic” to “international.”

SIFF has now become a hot topic and attracted widespread attention. China is changing steadily from a country with a large number of film productions to a country with high-quality film production. During the film festival, there are also activities held,such as the Asian New Talent Award, SIFF Project, Film Project, and Project Launch. Besides, the “Shanghai Film and Television Shooting Guide,” “Songjiang High-Tech Film City,” “Internet Summit” and other press conferences introduced Shanghai’s Chinese and foreign film shooting, setting, and cooperation service policies, which attracted significant attention from many film festival guests.


Although the Shanghai International Film Festival is in a pivotal position in Asian film festival field, there are still several aspects that need to be strengthened and improved compared with internationally renowned film festivals, especially regarding the “Shanghai Culture” brand. As one of the three major European film festivals, the Cannes International Film Festival, founded in 1939, can be seen as the goal of the Shanghai International Film Festival. Cannes International Film Festival is one of the most influential and top international film festivals in the world because of its most capable trading platform. It has always won international reputation with art supremacy, strict selection criteria and quality of festivals. Bringing high cultural value added and artistic prestige to Cannes,

However, the Shanghai Film Festival is one of the fewest festival activities which wound with negative news in the country, and it is indeed doing something to promote the development of Chinese film. Especially in the past two years, the Shanghai International Film Festival has explored a new look with a series of transformations. The most important measure is the establishment of a Chinese film project venture capital and co-production project negotiation.




The Beijing International Film Festival


The film festival is a high-end format in which the film industry has developed to a certain extent. The film festivals throughout Asia started very late. The Hong Kong Film Festival was founded in 1977; the Tokyo Film Festival was founded in 1985, Shanghai and Busan started the film festival in the 1990s. The Beijing International Film Festival has achieved rapid development, which is inseparable from Beijing’s abundant resources.


The Beijing International Film Festival is a business agenda and a help-style film festival. It pays more attention to the market value of the film and pays less attention to the value of the film art. It is related to the government nature of the organizer, and the strong market demand of Beijing’s film industry is relevant as well. Liang Ge, deputy director of the Film Bureau of the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, stressed in his opening speech in 2016: “(Beijing International) Film Festival, especially the film market unit, is an important platform for exchanges between domestic and foreign film industry, and is to make more international Peers understand Chinese movies and understand the important window of the development of China’s film industry.”



The Beijing International Film Festival aims to integrate domestic and international film resources, to build an exchange trading platform, and to build a famous cultural brand with international level, Chinese characteristics, and the Beijing style together. Making it a critical cultural activity for building a world city in Beijing and creating an Asian film and television. The core activities of the city. The film festivals play a role in promoting the image of the city, but it is based on the fact that the film festival has indeed become a platform for functional interaction between stars, film and television practitioners, fans and citizens.


However,There are some notable problems at the Beijing Film Festival. For example, the theme of the competition unit is weak, and the positioning is not precise enough. The Beijing International Film Festival faces the contradiction of cultural subjectivity. The design of the screening unit is not consistent with the cultural traditions and ideology of Chinese films, which also brings about the contradiction of the selection. For example, the Sydney Film Festival is an independent film outside the mainstream film industry. The Transitions Film Festival promotes creative, cutting-edge ideas, HRAFF (Human Rights Arts & Film Festival inspired to think about human rights issues. However, Beijing International Film Festival Film Competition in the unit, the mature director and the new director are not competing. The mature director has obtained enough affirmation, and the film is not fresh for the audience, which may lead to the decline of the visibility of the competition unit.


Secondly, the conventional sense of the festival remains at the opening and closing ceremonies. The lack of film festival experience in the wheel screening show, the opening short film did not appear at the beginning of the wheel screening show film, it makes even more people think that Beijing International Film Festival is just a daily ticket movie, not a film festival product.





The role of Film festival as an international view



There are more ‘Chinese elements’ in 2018 Cannes Film Festival than before, such as Ash Is Purest White directed by Jia Zhangke, ‎Long Day’s Journey Into Night by young director Bi Wei, and Wei Shuzhen’s short film On the Border. As a Chinese, I found that Chinese young and middle-aged directors have become one focus group of the film festival; also the internal interaction between Chinese film and international film festival has deepened. This trend of change makes me reconsider the role and the significance of the International Film Festival for the Chinese film industry, cultural industry, and even international cultural exchanges.
Dina lordanova (2009) states that the film festival as an ‘exhibition site’ is a vital part of the entire film distribution chain, but it is still a platform used for professional exchanges mostly. For example, some short movies have exposure in front of the public by displaying it in the film festival, but the reputation and topic end after the film festival ends. Therefore, Lordanova (2009) believes that films have multiple distribution channels including participating in the festival, film festivals are not responsible for the film release. The original purpose of the film festival was to select outstanding movies, and to reward talent filmmakers, and to promote international film culture exchanges (D. Iordanova, pp. 24-25). With the industry development and time exchanges, the competition between film festivals began to become fierce. Hence the pure film awards could no longer support the development of the film festival.
I agree that the original role of the film festival is to serve as a springboard, the film festival has power on incubating talented film project, cultivating new forces in the film industry. For the creative young filmmakers’ view, the most significant constraint is the lack of funds. However, filmmakers have opportunities to raise funds or to participate in pre-sales of film programs so that funding problems are solved; movies are filmed successfully. Participating in the film festival can also attract international attention to the film and help the film reach the audience and the market.


Moreover, as a gatekeeper, the film festival has a strong guiding effect on film creation and industry demand structure adjustment. Professional film festivals attract high-quality film to participate. The films that can display at large-scale film festivals are worthy of measurement regarding artistry, ideology, and technology, and can promote the cross-cultural communication of film art in various countries.


The film festival can also promote the development of the urban industrial chain. The participating film dealers can prejudge the future market according to the price of the market transaction and the difficulty level, then adjust their type of film production, and formulate a new sales plan. The film festival involves local tourism, hotels, restaurants, transportation and other aspects, which can increase employment opportunities and generate substantial economic benefits. A significant feature of the International Film Festival development in recent years is the increasing focus on commercial operations. The film festival is primarily a convention and exhibition event. As the film festival matures, the film festival also pays more attention to strategic operations and professional services. For example, the Cannes Film Festival started its next operation on the closing day of the last film festival. The organizing committee has also established Cannes Village to facilitate exhibitors to publish, trade and sign to reach the needs of exhibitors. The Beijing International Film Festival as the most significant film trading market in Asia, the total amount of film transactions in the Beijing International Film Festival in 2018 is 26 billion yuan.


In 2017, the total annual box office of the Chinese Film Festival exceeded 55 billion yuan. This year’s Cannes Film Festival set up the “Cannes China Film Honor Award” for the first time. It can be seen that in the context of economic globalization, the world film festival is increasingly connected with the development of Chinese film festival, and the interaction is getting deeper. The Shanghai International Film Festival hosted by China and the Beijing International Film Festival is becoming more mature, the film festival is also developed as a combination of urban economic capital and film art.






Iordanova, D., 2009. The film festival circuit. Film festival yearbook 1: The festival circuit, pp.23-39.


黄昊 光明日报,戛纳电影节的场内场外 中国电影”逆势成长”受瞩目,2018年05月22日07:10



Experience in 2018 MIFF

“Film festivals are the most prominent alternative exhibition context for film” (De Valck, 2006, p.27)
Last week I attended MIFF (Melbourne International Film Festival) on Flinders street and watched the documentary underminedtales from the Kimberley from the director Nicholas Wrathall. This film last for more than one hour, which explored the confliction between economic development and the original ecological environment of Kimberley. They focused their attention on the contradiction between indigenous community residents’ living conditions and the local government. From the perspective of ethical concern,they explored the fairness and justice from social events.



MIIF underminedtales from the Kimberley venue

After I entered the venue, there were four parts to the event. The first one is welcome to country section: film director, producer, and Kimberley musician/activist Albert Wiggan explained the background, their aims and goals, and the theme of this film. Then, followed by a beautiful musical performance, the lyrics are also tightly related to Kimberley aboriginal culture and humanity ethics. After more than one hour of screening time, there was an activity of Q&A held, which is an interactive section with both filmmakers, film jury and audiences, this part makes me rethink about the film festival. Through experiencing the interaction of films and audiences in MIFF, I understood the importance of the festival settings integrity for audiences which enable them to understand the aims and goals of the production.


I participated in the event group of our film festival, and I found that the attendance of MIFF taught me how to be assigned to an event group as a part working with film festival activities. Not only the opening and closing ceremonies, but also the art activities related to the theme of the festival, and the interactive communication all are elements we needed to be aware. In the first week of class, I learned that the film festival contains not only red carpets, movies, but also media tools and springboards functions to promote movies and producers, which allows film itself and social events, politics, and art to engage with the public.
In week 2, I learned the relationships between film festivals and films self. Do the film festivals exist as springboards for movies or as gatekeepers? On the one hand, MIFF as a film festival in Melbourne helped the documentary underminedtales from the Kimberley to be promoted and infiltrated in public. For example, through the filmmakers explored their theme and aimed at the beginning, audiences started to carry questions of the aboriginal problems while watching. After the film ends, audiences and the interviewer ask questions about the social problems and ethical concerns which brought by the film, then a more in-depth discussion succeed. In this process, the prestige and social attention of this documentary improve.

On the other hand, film festivals screen movies which are appropriate for their festival theme, so, the information obtained by the public is the outcome set already by the film festival. Filmmakers will also consider the proneness of a film festival for their both economic and political concern, and interests of target audiences (Stringer, 2001). For example, Kimberley’s representative values are suitable for Melbourne’s ‘festival image’ (Stringer, 2001).





Stringer, J. 2001, “Global cities and the international film festival economy”, Cinema and the City: Film and Urban Societies in a Global Context, pp.134-144.