Chinese filmmakers march forward with a sonorous pace, striving for the dream of building China into a strong country with a big film output
In early autumn, the eight-day 12th Beijing International Film Festival (BJIFF) presented the world an amazing, splendid film event on the shores of the Yanqi Lake in a dreamy valley of film. It shared a determination with filmmakers from various countries to shape the future of the film industry, and has given a big boost to the global film industry with moving “China story”. The 12th BJIFF, guided by the China Film Administration and hosted by China Media Group and the People’s Government of Beijing Municipality, came to a successful conclusion on August 20.
Going into twelve years, the BJIFF is just in its youth and remains true to its founding purpose. With continued iterations and upgrades over the past 12 years, the BJIFF has grown into an important platform for dialogues and exchanges among film industries at home and abroad, as well as a dazzling cultural label of the capital city of Beijing.
The Tiantan Award with a blend of diversified cultures demonstrates China’s cultural self-confidence
In line with the philosophy of “Beauty in Variety, Harmony in Diversity”, this year’s BJIFF invited seven cinematic heavyweights from at home and abroad to sit on the jury of the Tiantan Award.This year, the Tiantan Award received a total of 1,450 entries rich in subject across the global, including 1,193 international films from 88 countries and regions—a record high, embodying a diverse fusion of the BJIFF.
In sync with the playing of the video specially made by the organizing committee for the jury president Li Xuejian, actor He Bing, host Nëghmet Raxman, hostess Lan Yu, Yu Yin, grandson of Jiao Yulu (a character Li Xuejian played), and an audience representative Chen Yuqi sang Want to Sing for You about Me together. In addition, Chen Daoming, a famous Chinese actor, presented Li with a commemorative trophy of the BJIFF in salute to him.
At the awards ceremony, Zhang Yimou and Li Xuejian acted as the award presenters of Best Feature Film, highlighting the expectation for the classical inheritance of the Tiantan Award. The final results of some categories were as follows: Best Feature Film went to The Blind Man Who Did Not Want To See Titanic; Best Cinematography to Silvan Hillmann for Unrest, presented by directors Malcolm Clarke and Gordon Chan; Best Director to Fabien Gorgeart for The Family, presented by Li Shaohong and Wu Jing; Best Artistic Contribution, new to the Tiantan Award, to Unrest, presented by Frant Gwo and Zhang Songwen; and Best Supporting Actress to Sigourney Weaver for Call Jane, presented by Hu Mei and Qin Hailu.
For the remaining categories, Wang Jingchun, together with Michelangelo Frammartino through a video, revealed the result of Best Actor—which was awarded to Petri Poikolainen for The Blind Man Who Did Not Want To See Titanic; Liu Xiaoqing and Zhang Yongxin announced that Wu Yanshu was awarded Best Actress for Song of Spring; Liu Peiqi and Zhang Yishan announced the winner of Best Supporting Actor—which was bestowed to Santos Choque for Utama; Zhang Yadong and Sun Nan presented the award for Best Music—which went to Irène Drésel for Full Time; and Wen Muye and Xin Baiqing presented the award for Best Screenplay to Teemu Nikki for The Blind Man Who Did Not Want To See Titanic.
Global filmmakers gather at the closing ceremony that showcases the spirit of the times in China
At the Closing & Awards Ceremony of the 12th BJIFF, the elaborately choreographed programs brought the audience into the world of film.
The video mash-up of the films shortlisted for the Tiantan Award, The Wonderful Film Journey, once again let the audience feel the path of global filmmakers chasing dreams. Actor Jin Dong, on behalf of the film circle, paid tribute to Lan Tianye, Qin Yi, Jacques Perrin and some other filmmakers who have passed away in the past year, and expressed the reluctance of everyone by reciting Filmmakers’ Splendors Will Never End. Sun Nan and Guan Xiaotong sang I Love, Therefore I Am to inspire filmmakers to record the new look of the times with their lenses. I Understand You sung by Angels Chorus made fans feel more deeply the emotional warmth interpreted by filmmakers through the big screen. Yang Kun sang the song Light Walkers in a nod to the aggressive filmmakers.
The films The Wandering Earth II and Mundane Heroes were present as key recommended films, allowing people to feel the rhythm of the pulse of film art in the present era.
A run on tickets in the Beijing Film Panorama is a testament to the prosperity of the Chinese film market
The Beijing Film Panorama section of the BJIFF has created a unique atmosphere of films for all. This year’s event brought together hundreds of outstanding films, and movie tickets were snapped up by movie-goers immediately after they were on sale. A number of films saw a run on tickets, showing the world the huge potential of the Chinese film market and cultural prosperity behind it.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to the motherland. For the first time, the BJIFF and the Hong Kong International Film Festival (HKIFF) jointly held a special section titled “BJIFF Special: Making Waves—Navigators of Hong Kong Cinema”, enabling audiences to reminisce about the bygones and appreciate the style of Hong Kong films. Aaron Kwok was invited to be the promotion ambassador of the 12th BJIFF, and interacted with the audience by means of “hologram”.
The 2022 Online BJIFF on the iQIYI platform also continued to upgrade by setting up nine screening sections, which bagged the likes from movie fans.
Looking at the road of building a film “power” and leading the development of cinema globally
On a mission to increase the discourse of the Chinese film industry and lead a new development of cinema globally, the 12th BJIFF specially launched three “film power forums” with forward-looking topics for discussion as part of the Theme Forum series events, encouraging Chinese filmmakers to keep pace with the times and climb to the “peak” from the “plateau”.
The three Workshops & Masterclasses featuring Li Xuejian, Derek Yee, and Malcolm Clarke, respectively, basked in the attention, where they shared the ingenuity they always pursue in film creation.
Furthermore, the organizing committee also held a number of special seminars, opening up new opportunities and charting new paths for film development and injecting more confidence into the film industry.
Leading the industry trend and promoting the integration and innovation of the whole industry chain
Over the past 12 years, the BJIFF Beijing Film Market has developed a strong cohesiveness and influence in the industry, making it an iconic event that leads the industry trend and promotes industrial development. Also, it has been a strong driver for the integration of resources and collaborative innovation throughout the industry chain, providing a good opportunity for the prosperous development of Chinese films.
For this year’s BJIFF, the number of entries for the Project Pitches, which has evolved into the most high-profile film incubation and support platform among the global Chinese-speaking population, hit a record high again; BJIFF TALENTS engaged a vast wealth of young filmmakers. It has become an important part of the BJIFF to discover and foster outstanding young film talents and projects. The cultivation of new forces aims to contribute to the non-stop creation of Chinese films.
Continuing to help Chinese cinema break fresh crossover ground and expand new frontiers through innovation
Built on the nine major sections, the 12th BJIFF opened up new horizons and pursued cross-over innovation, bringing new hopes to the blossoming of dreams about Chinese cinema. Beijing is confident and capable to make greater contributions to building China into a film power.
The Film Night Beijing, China, the Beijing International Sports Film Week, and the Weibo Movie Awards Ceremony all debuted as part of the BJIFF, with the hope of conveying feelings and shaping a better future together through films.
The 12th BJIFF specially launched a trailer in salute to those who love movies, which features a big-name lineup including the famous director Lu Chuan who made it, as well as four excellent actors—Li Xuejian, Song Jia, Qi Xi, and Huang Xuan—as performers.
CGTN live broadcasted the grand opening ceremony of the BJIFF in five languages, English, Spanish, French, Arabic, and Russian, making the BJIFF the first film festival in China to live broadcast the opening ceremony in multiple languages overseas.
The Film Carnival not only provided a feast of recreational activities, but also brought young audiences closer to the creators through camping screenings for the first time, further promoting the cultural brand of “Spend Your Weekend at the Film Town” and providing the public with an abundance of quality culture.
The metaverse, which has seen a recent surge in popularity, made a debut in the Beijing Film Market, creating the first-ever “metaverse movie palace” around the world.
In addition, to explore more possibilities of the cross-over integration of films, the 12th BJIFF also featured relevant events, including the Forward Future, the Game-Based Animated Films Exhibition, the Magic Editing Forum, the Science and Technology Section, the Beijing Ethnic Film Festival, the Beijing International Dance Video Festival, the Sci-fi Forum, the Short Video Section, the ReelFocus Program, the Filmmaker & Artist Works Invitational Exhibition, and the Forum on Film and Technology Integration & the celebrations for the 20th anniversary of Poly Pictures, the Run for Fun, the “Brands Power Chinese Movies” Live Streaming for Nonprofits, and the ASUS E-Inno Volunteer Action.
The fruitful achievements of the BJIFF have attracted global attention, showing the vitality and charm of Chinese cinema
Since its inception, the BJIFF has shown its unique charm in contributing to Beijing’s endeavor to build the “four centers” of the capital with its time-tested style and aura and increasingly far-reaching international influence. The 12th edition saw far-reaching significance, fruitful results, and wide-ranging influence, thus receiving high attention at home and abroad.
Since the official announcement, it has seen more than 760 trending hashtags across major social media platforms, with nearly 20 million pieces of related information derived, and over 9,000 reports from the media in 26 languages, including approximately 1,000 foreign media outlets, covering 35 countries and regions like the United States, France, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Italy, Singapore, Indonesia, France, the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, India, Kenya, South Korea, Japan, Poland, Russia, Spain, Pakistan, Finland, Vietnam, Australia, Argentina, and Saudi Arabia. The views of the main topic #BJIFF# hit 7.3 billion, along with those of related topics at 16.3 billion. Among them, the stop-motion animation promo video of Fuwa as a symbol of the twelve Chinese zodiac signs debuted on the Nasdaq tower in Times Square, New York City, telling China story and spreading Chinese voices.
Build a cinematic dream and shape a better film future. The 12th BJIFF has ended on a high note. In the past 12 years, the road of the film that the BJIFF has traveled is like a standing spiritual lighthouse. It will always forge ahead on the voyage of Chinese cinema, shape the spirit of the times, and inspire filmmakers to firmly march toward the road of building China into a major cinematic player.
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