China / China

Stars come out for film festival

By Liu Wei (China Daily) Updated: 2013-04-17 07:19

The Beijing International Film Festival, now on its third edition, will have a competition section this year.

The festival, which opened on Tuesday night in the capital's Tiantan Park, will give out 10 Tiantan Awards, including prizes for the best film, director, actor and actress.

Stars come out for film festival

Staff workers show the Tiantan Awards for the third Beijing International Film Festival on Tuesday. Jiang Dong / China Daily

Among the 15 nominated films are two local productions: Feng Xiaogang's disaster epic Back to 1942, and Wang Jing's emotional drama Feng Shui.

Mike Newell's Great Expectations and Carlos Sorin's Gone Fishing have also been shortlisted for the awards.

Renowned Russian director Nikita Mikhalkov leads the jury, which also includes Ivor Benjamin, chair of the Directors Guild of Great Britain; Cameron Bailey, the artistic director of the Toronto Film Festival; and veteran Chinese directors Gu Changwei and Zhang Yibai.

The festival is intended as a film panorama for local cinephiles, as only 34 foreign films a year are allowed to be released theatrically in China.

During the festival, which runs until April 23, some 260 films made at home and abroad will be screened in 28 cinemas in Beijing.

According to Zhao Zhiyong, deputy secretary-general of the festival, 90 percent of the foreign movies screened are relatively new productions made in 2011 and 2012.

"One of the festival's aims is to bring the best films from around the world to local audiences," he said.

Highlights include a 2012 restoration of David Lean's grand epic Lawrence of Arabia, which hits big screens in the mainland for the first time, and Michael Haneke's Amour, honored as the best foreign film at this year's Academy Awards.

The entire eight-film Harry Potter series will be screened in three theaters across the city.

In honor of jury chair Mikhalkov, the festival will screen Burnt by the Sun, which won the Grand Prix at Cannes in 1994, and its 2010 sequel.

The festival will run in parallel with a film market, attracting more than 200 domestic and overseas exhibitors including Industrial Light & Magic, Imax, Technicolor and Base FX to display the latest developments in filmmaking technology.

There will also be presentations of some of the most anticipated local projects, such as the new film of Xu Zheng, whose Lost in Thailand was the most popular film in 2012 with a box office gross of 1.2 billion yuan ($194 million), which was very close to the domestic earnings of the 2009 sci-fi blockbuster Avatar.

The Project Pitches Program of the market sees some of the most potential Chinese filmmakers submitting their film plans to senior insiders who will choose three projects to support financially and technically.

Luminaries set to attend the festival include French director Luc Besson, who will sit with Zhang Hongsen, director of the State Film Bureau, to talk about international co-production. Keanu Reeves will publicize his directorial debut, Man of Tai Chi.

The Beijing International Film Festival is one of the three major film festivals in China, in addition to the Shanghai and Changchun festivals, which were founded in 1993 and 1992 respectively.

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