Beijing International Film Festival Latest News

Beijing International Film Festival Latest News



Beijing International Film Festival aims to be topmovie event
By Xu Fan ( China Daily )

Updated: 2015-04-21 08:43:45


Beijing International Film Festival aims to be top movie event
Arnold Schwarzenegger draws a big crowd of fans while walking the red carpet of the BeijingInternational Film Festival.[Photo By Jiang Dong/China Daily]


Industry players agree that the organizers' plan to hit the big time in three to five years is possible.Xu Fan reports.

The rapidly expanding Chinese market for movies has drawn increasing attention from aroundthe world.

The ongoing 5th Beijing International Film Festival, one of the country's major filmevents, has drawn a record number of participating stars, some 300 at the opening ceremony innorthern Beijing last Thursday night, and hundreds of world-renowned filmmakers at the followingmeetings.

There is also a long list of celebrities.

The event, which runs through Thursday, had a lift-off when Hollywood action star and formerCalifornia governor Arnold Schwarzenegger gave warm hugs and handshakes to the screamingfans alongside the red carpet.

The festival's organizers have given themselves three to five years to make the BeijingInternational Film Festival rank as the top movie event in Asia, on a level with the Cannes FilmFestival and Toronto International Film Festival, says Zhao Zhiyong, executive deputy secretary-general with the festival's committee, in a news release on last Tuesday.

French veteran filmmaker Luc Besson, who leads a seven-member panel to select the bestpicture and other nine awards for the festival's Tiantan (Temple of Heaven) Awards, believes thatis achievable.

Beijing International Film Festival aims to be top movie event
La Peikang (left), chairman of China Film Group, actress Ye Qing and Frenchdirector JeanJacques Annaud.[Photo By Jiang Dong/China Daily]


"So five years is very young. It's a baby, but I had never seen a baby so mature, and he has thematurity of a very old Chinese wise man," Besson says at the opening ceremony, referring to thefive-year-old festival.

Marco Solari, president of the Locarno International Film Festival in Switzerland, tells China Dailythat he has been impressed with the fast development of China's movie market and the numberof local talented moviemakers.

"There are now more than 3,000 film festivals in the world. Their influence is not judged by howold they are. Though the Beijing International Film Festival is still young, it has already taken itsplace in the world," Solari says.

The president of the earliest and largest film festival in Switzerland predicts that it is "quitepossible" for China to overtake the United States as the world's top box-office market in thecoming years.


Beijing International Film Festival aims to be top movie event
Zhang Guoli and Xiaogang.[Photo By Jiang Dong/China Daily]


Achievable goal

Some big numbers may show the festival's potential and the possibility of its goal.

More than 300 movies selected from more than 1,500 titles from 103 countries and regions arebeing released in 23 Beijing cinemas and eight universities.

Some of them are making their international debut in China, the world' second-largest moviemarket with a record box office hitting 29.6 billion yuan ($4.8 billion) last year, up 36 percent year-on-year.

Online ticket-booking statistics show that more than 10,000 tickets were sold in only threeminutes after, the festival's authorized site, started presale on April 9, and 4.2million tickets were sold in the following three days.

Tickets of some US blockbusters, such as this year's Oscar winners Birdman and The GrandBudapest Hotel, were sold out at least two days before the screenings.

The overwhelming response from Chinese moviegoers to the festival, with some attendeesclaiming on major film forums that they flew to Beijing just for the "precious" chance to enjoy theclassical productions on the big screen, makes the 2015 festival the most popular since it waslaunched in 2011.

Meanwhile, the festival has also reached out to the international movie market.


Beijing International Film Festival aims to be top movie event
TV anchor He Jiong (center) and his crew.[Photo By Jiang Dong/China Daily]


Latest available figures show that the movie industry fair, part of the festival that was held fromApril 17 to 20 in the China Millennium Monument, attracted 275 movie companies andinstitutions from 25 countries and regions, up 11 percent year-on-year.

Project Pitches, a major section of the market which aims to find film projects that have bigcommercial potential, have received 455 applicants, double the total of the previous year.

In the previous four festivals from 2011 to 2014, a total of 80 movie projects were picked up,hitting a trade value as high as 27.3 billion yuan.

"China's booming movie market and its huge commercial potential have garnered attention frommany international moviemakers. More than 30 foreign exhibitors are holding events in this year'smarket. The figure doubles last year's," reveals Chen Caiyun, the marketing head with thefestival's committee.

Details of big-budget coproductions, jointly produced by China and top film studios from Europeand the North America, have also been released during the festival.

The fantasy thriller Warrior Gate, a Sino-French production by Besson's EuropaCorp and theShanghai-based Fundamental Films, unveiled its cast on last Friday.

Chinese-Canadian actor Mark Chao, rising Chinese actress Ni Ni and American teen actorUriah Shelton will star in the 300-million-yuan blockbuster, written by veteran American scriptwriter Robert Kamen, who is also one of the Tiantan awards' jurors, and directed byMatthias Hoene.


Beijing International Film Festival aims to be top movie event
Kelly Chan.[Photo By Jiang Dong/China Daily]


New coproductions

Journey to the West, an adaptation from the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) classic, will feature theMonkey King again in the summer of 2017. This time, the 3-D version of the popular legend is acollaboration between Paramount Pictures and Beijing Ruyi Xinxin Film Investment.

The Monkey King is a world-famous character and the story will work well with the latest movietechnology, says Rob Moore, Paramount's vice-president.

Many of the principal actors in the 1986 classic TV series, who are still remembered by ageneration of Chinese viewers, will star in the film that will be produced by Mark Johnson, famedfor Rain Man and Breaking Bad.

Hollywood blockbusters are also making their pitches during the festival.

"I'll be back."

The signature line in the Terminator franchise was Schwarzenegger's last sentence in his speech at the opening ceremony. The 67-year old American star refers to his possible promotion back in China for the upcomingaction, titled Terminator 5 or Terminator: Genisys, which will be released in July in North America.In addition, his action thriller Sabotage will be released across the mainland on April 24.






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