The festival will bring an unmissable array of over 50 top British features and short films to netizens across China.
Film fans across Mainland China have cause to celebrate as the British Embassy Beijing, VisitBritain and Virgin Atlantic Airways have teamed up to launch the inaugural GREAT British Online Film Festival. The festival will bring an unmissable array of over 50 top British features and short films to netizens across the country, via the video portal, LeTV. The films will be available to view through filmisgreat.cn from 9 October to 12 December, 2014.
The festival intends to showcase the best of British film, including a range of films that have been previously unavailable for release in China. The line-up includes 36 features curated by the British Film Institute (BFI) and 20 short films programmed by ShortsTV. Many of the films have either won, or been nominated for prestigious international awards. The selection of films features some of Britain’s most famous actors such as Benedict Cumberbatch, Dame Judi Dench and Martin Freeman, and are directed by some of Britain’s leading filmmakers.
Another highlight of the festival will be the premier of the short film, Freeze Frame, produced especially for the ‘GREAT Britain on Screen’ campaign. Freeze Frame will be released half way through the GREAT British Online Film Festival. Starring a Chinese female lead with a British male co-star, and written, produced and directed by an award-winning British crew, this romantic comedy is set to the backdrop of picturesque London, Edinburgh and Shanghai, guaranteed to take viewers on a journey through film.
In April this year, the Sino-UK Film Co-Production Treaty was signed in Beijing, sparking the creation of a series of cross-cultural projects to mark the new partnerships between the two nations in producing creative, quality film. Seizing on this enthusiasm, the ‘GREAT Britain on Screen’ campaign will run throughout the year, promoting the best of UK film and TV to fans and industry professionals across the country.
The campaign is an opportunity to demonstrate the UK’s position as a world-leader in film. At this year’s Oscars, British-made film Gravity collected seven awards, while 12 Years a Slave won three awards, including Best Director for Britain’s Steve McQueen. British actors, directors, writers and crew work on films produced across the globe, and TV hits such as Downton Abbey and Sherlock have amassed huge fan-bases in China.
Film – and, increasingly, television – is a growing driver of tourism in Britain. When Daniel Craig and Judi Dench, as James Bond and M, stood surveying the lush landscape of Glencoe, millions of cinemagoers admired it too – and the mountain has since seen an increase of more than 40% in visitors. When Harry Potter dipped and dived on his broomstick at his first Quidditch lesson, Alnwick Castle played the role of Hogwarts – and saw an increase in visitors of 230%, boosting the local economy by an extra £9million; the Castle now even hosts Quidditch lessons for visitors. VisitBritain research indicates that 40% of potential visitors would be “very likely” to visit places they’ve seen in films or on TV, which now accounts for nearly 10% of all tourism.
HMA Sir Sebastian Wood said:
I am delighted that 2014 marks a year for celebrating the coming together of Great Britain and China in film. There are countless examples of creative talent across the UK, including in our world-class film industry. I hope that through the GREAT British Online Film Festival, audiences across China will rediscover British classics and uncover new favourites. In many cases, the location also has a starring role, and I hope viewers will be inspired to visit the UK to explore the locations from their favourite films.
ShortsTV’s Chief Executive, Carter Pilcher said:
Britain and China are two of the world’s oldest and most transcendent story-telling cultures, and both are exploding with new creativity. Nowhere is there more excitement or interest in both Britain and China than in the world of movies — and for young, hip Chinese and Brits, the coolest movies to watch are short movies.
We are excited to bring Chinese audiences a glimpse into the world of British short filmmaking — the stars, the stories and the thrills of the highest quality shorts. Chinese audiences already love short videos. We hope these films, some of the world’s best short movies, will serve as examples that jumpstart Chinese and British filmmaking cooperation.”