Experience a Multifaceted China in Seven Days
After months of preparation, the 5th China Image Film Festival will have its magnificent opening ceremony today (Tuesday 12th November) at Curzon Chelsea in London, followed by a week of screening from 13th -17th November.
Europe’s largest Chinese-language film festival is now in its fifth successful year. This year’s Festival will showcase an even larger number of films as well as boasting an exciting VIP lineup. Over twenty exciting films will be shown during the festival, including “So Young”, “Finding Mr. Right” and “Silent Witness”, bringing the cream of contemporary Chinese cinema to a world-wide audience.
Director Xue Xiaolu (“Finding Mr. Right”, “Ocean Heaven”), Cong Xiao (“The Old Famous Star”) Actress Yang Zishan (“So Young”), Actor Yu Shaoqun (“An End to Killing”, “Forever Enthralled”) will be in London for the Festival, sharing with the audience their recent works and experiences of being at the heart of the booming Chinese film industry.
So let’s take a look at six of the key points of this year’s Festival.
Feature 1: Festival opens with historical war drama
Historical war drama”An End to Killing” will be screening at this year’s opening ceremony. This 80 million-investment blockbuster took inspiration from the story of Qiu Chuji convincing Genghis Khan to “kill east”.
Directed by a National Director Wang Ping, “An End to Killing”is starred by a rising Chinese mainland actor Yu Shaoqun and the former chairman of National Theatre Zhao Youliang. The film was shot in live action over half a year across Shandong Province, the northwest region, Inner Mongolia and six other provinces.
Audiences will have the chance to watch this amazing war drama with the film’s director at the opening ceremony on 12 November.
Feature 2: Experience a Multifaceted China in Seven Days
This year’s Festival will be holding screenings from the 13th – 17th November, during which time over 20 of this year’s best films – all thematically different – will be shown at the Odeon Panton Street and the Odeon Leicester Square Studios.
Films encompassing all different themes have been selected for this year’s Festival, including Urban romantic comedy “Finding Mr. Right”, historical war drama “An End to Killing”, award-winning animation ‘Kuiba II’. Not to mention ‘Fake Fiction, ’Xuzheng’s latest film after the famous ‘Lost in Thailand’, a story illustrating the true living condition of youths from the lower classes ‘Crying Stone’, directorial debut of Zhao Wei (Vicki Zhao), youthful art piece “So Young”, as well as Aaron Kwok and Sun Hong-Lei in the blockbuster thriller “Silent Witness” amongst other amazing Chinese films.
During these short five days, the audience will be able to glean a more varied, more complete and more solid understanding and impression of Chinese films and China’s image.
Feature 3: Chinese Films Light Up the Birthplace of Cinematography
The Opening Ceremony for this year’s Festival will take place at the illustrious Curzon Chelsea on London’s King’s Road. As the biggest theatre of the Curzon Group, the Curzon Chelsea can accommodate an audience of 700 in its large-scale auditorium. The unique and luxurious interior of the theatre along with an unsurpassed level of comfort for seating and abundant leg-room offers a sumptuous viewing experience.
This modern Chelsea theatre has already been established for over 75 years and has been a pivotal location in the history of cinema. Prior to being a theatre this location was the testing ground of cinema pioneer William Friese-Greene and has witnessed the birth of cinematography. These days a bronze statue of William watches over the entrance, bearing both testaments to the development and vagaries of cinema as well as the maturation of Chinese films today.
Feature 4: First summit forum for China-UK film and television cooperation to promote technical and industrial dialogue.
In order to deepen understanding and representation of Sino-English film culture and background, the Festival promotes cooperation and dialogue in every aspect of the film industry. On this fifth occasion of the Festival, the organisers have set up the first ever summit forum for China-UK film and television cooperation. The forum is aimed at providing those in the Sino-English film industry with a platform for projects and strategy, in order to strengthen both sides’ understanding of the creative projects.
The Festival will also be hosting some new events, including CIFF Film Market. This forum is aimed at internationalizing and benefitting China’s film industry, promoting diversification and development of the whole industry as well as recommending the must intuitive ways of showcasing contemporary Chinese films. This will further help to expand the influence and competitiveness of Chinese filmmakers both in the United Kingdom and Europe as well as promoting dialogue and cooperation between the Chinese and European media.
During the festival many government institutions, industrial associations, media bodies and film companies will attend the events, including: the China Film Producers Association, the China Film Co-Production Corporation, the China Film Association, the China Film Group, Huaxia Film Distribution Co., the Guangxi Film Group Ltd., the Beijing State-Owned Cultural Capital Supervision Office, the China Copyright Protection Centre, the News Publication Administration and Information Centre and the Tencent Group, Media & Entertainment Industry Reporter and the AirMedia Group.
Feature 5: Support Ethnic Films with Additional Themed Screenings
In order to support national films, this year’s Festival has additional Ethnic Film Screenings, complete with their own awards. This will serve to increase understanding of ethnic films and bring them more to the public consciousness. Movies such as “Tian Qin” ,“Mount Awa” “Manai’s Bride” come to London and the world through the assistance of our Festival.
We hope to bring a better understanding of the customs and traditions of our ethnic minorities to viewers, and believe that these two wonderful movies about the Zhuang, Wa and Zang peoples will be sure to give a welcome rest from the blockbuster madness!
Feature 6: Beijing Meets London
“So Young” – ‘Zheng Wei’ will attend the Festival to share with you a “Beijing love story.”
This film, narrating the story of 90s campus life and love, marks star Zhao Wei’s directorial debut and has received much attention even prior to release. Throughout the story the audience is invited to share the details of the protagonist’s college life, not to mention see reflections of their own! The dormitory bunks, the ubiquitous rubber-soled shoes, the contemporary hairstyles, early video game consoles, pagers – all these details serve to splendidly recreate and recapture the spirit of that time and will be sure to arouse nostalgia in all those of a certain age.
The lead heroine of “So Young”, ‘Zheng Wei’ (Yang Zishan) will be in London from 12th – 18th November for the Festival, sharing with the audience the experience of her 90’s Beijing love story.
The director of “Finding Mr. Right”, Xue Xiaolu, will attend in London to personally tell of her experience shooting the film.
“Finding Mr. Right’s” ‘Old Uncle’ (Wu Xiubo) led to a boom in Seattle’s tourism. Let the tenderness and humour in this fine romance move and relax you as, for a special treat. During the Festival’s film week, the eminent writer and director of “Finding Mr. Right”, Xue Xiaolu will attend in London to share with everyone her behind-the-scenes stories. How did Old Uncle overcome his difficulties with English and what was it like to play his character? How did superstar Tang Wei cope portraying a single mother for the first time and was there any embarrassing moments? What unique perspectives did the highly-educated director Xue Xiaolu have on shooting this film? All will be revealed, when Beijing meets London!
Feature 7: National Animation Strides Towards the International Stage
Bringing up the topic of Chinese animation, most people will instinctively recall the classics from long ago. However, due to advances in both technology and story-telling, Dozens of high-standard Chinese animations have been produced in recent years.
At the China Image Film Festival, the audience will be able to experience Chinese high-quality animations like ‘Kuiba 2’. This award-winning animation was also released to immediate and extensive industry acclaim and public praise, receiving much vocal support from members of the entertainment and literature communities including endorsements from famous script writer Ning Caishen, and author Han Han.
Feature 8: New award for short films
2013 witnesses a significant growth in short films. Accordingly, during this year’s film festival, there will be 17 Chinese short films to be screening in London, including ‘We Love You Grandpa’ the touching story about friendship between two generations; ‘Walking by Dreams—Electronic Music in China’ the first documentary in China to focus on electronic music industry, and one of the top 10 best short films in the 2012 China Independent Film Festival ‘Sexual Happiness’.
Alongside with a week-long screening, short films will have their own award session at this year’s festival. Like feature films, the festival’s judging panel will select the best director, best music, best script as well as the best film from the 17 short films screened.
Feature 9: ‘The king of Asian Dancer’ to perform at closing ceremony
This year’s festival will hold its closing ceremony at Cineworld Haymarket, London on 18 November. There will be hordes of famous Chinese movie stars attending the ceremony, including Yang Zishan, Xue Xiaolu and, most excitingly, Guo Fucheng, ‘the king of Asian dancer’.
As one of the Four Hong Kong Heavenly Kings of Cantopop, Guo Fucheng starred in various movies and is the second actor in the history of the Golden Horse Awards to win the Best Actor Award consecutively. Moreover, He starred in the film Cold War (2012), which is not only the box office champion in Hong Kong, but also broke the box office record of Hong Kong cop film in mainland China.
The film ‘Silent Witness’, in which Guo acted an awed judicial prosecutor will be screening at the closing ceremony. Different from traditional crime film or legal drama, reasoning and debate are subordinate in this meditation on human nature.
The 5th China Image Film Festival, 12 – 18 November 2013
Opening Ceremony – 12th November at 7pm at Curzon Chelsea
Film Exhibition Week– 13-18th November at Odeon Panton Street/ Odeon Leicester Square Studios
China UK Co Production And Cooperation Summit（CUCP）
– 13th November at 9.30am at Grant Thornton Finsbury Square
CIFF Film Market – 15th November
Closing and Award Ceremonies – 18th November at 6:30PM at Cineworld Haymarket
The China Image Film Festival was established in 2009, organised by China UK Cultural & Creative Industry Association. As a platform for cultural exchange between the UK and China, the festival has gained support from Film Bureau of SAFRT, Chinese Film Group, and China Film Producers Association, House of Lords, China Embassy in the UK as well as other agencies, associations and institutions from both the UK and China.