BFI returns to China to continue its mission

Nankin Road, Shanghai (1901)
Nankin Road, Shanghai (1901)

The BFI returns to China in March 2015 to continue its mission towards deeper cultural exchange and understanding, collaboration and business growth between China and the UK on behalf of the UK film industry.  The BFI will join the GREAT Festival of Creativity Shanghai from 2-4th March, organised by the GREAT Britain campaign and UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), to present activity that strengthens the relationship between both nations’ film industries.

A Film Collaboration panel discussion, chaired by BFI CEO Amanda Nevill and including UK producer David Heyman (Paddington, Gravity, Harry Potter) and Chinese President of the Shanghai Film Group Ren Zhonglun, will explore how British and Chinese filmmakers can work together in driving economic growth and creative success. A second panel, Chaired by Pinewood China CEO, Andrew M. Smith, including President Zhanghong Hu, Wanda Group; Iain Smith, Chairman, British Film Commission; Ivan Dunleavy, CEO, Pinewood Group plc and the President of China Film Co-production Corporation Miao Xiaotian, will examine how to make the dream a reality, through the production and post-production process, and a workshop with Framestore.  Presentations during the festival of rare films from the BFI National Archive celebrate the rich history of Shanghai and see China’s cultural heritage and the industrial potential of film showcased side by side.

The BFI will also lead its second delegation of film industry professionals from the UK to Shanghai and Beijing for a week from March 2-9th, this will be an opportunity for some of the best creative and business minds in the UK to work with the emerging giants of the Chinese film industry, grow their knowledge of the Chinese film industry and better understand Chinese audiences.

Sajid Javid, Culture Secretary said  “The UK and China are home to two of the biggest and best film industries in the world, so both nations have much to gain from forging closer links. 2015 is the first-ever UK/China Year of Cultural exchange, and it’s great to see the BFI leading the way by building new and stronger relationships with their Chinese counterparts.”

Amanda Nevill, BFI CEO said China and the UK are both great creative nations that share rich cultural histories and a deeply rooted sense of storytelling. This rare, carefully restored archive film from the BFI National Archive shines a light on a moment in China’s history – captured on film. It is especially symbolic to present this to Chinese audiences as the UK’s cultural handshake with China and affirms our commitment to a long term relationship with what will soon become the biggest cinema going nation in the world. 

The opportunities for creative collaborations to drive growth for both the Chinese and UK film industries are extremely exciting. We thank GREAT and UKTI for organising an event which gives us a platform to explore and exchange ideas, forge industrial links and deepen cultural understanding between our nations.”


The A-Z of Successful Film Collaborations (Part 1)

March 4th 1.30-2.30pm, Creative Exchange 1

Chaired by BFI CEO Amanda Nevill, a film industry panel will explore the different creative environments in the UK and China and the opportunities that exist for film makers from both nations to work together. The creative process of filmmaking will also be explored with shared insights on taking an idea from concept through to story development and putting together the talent package to bring it to the screen.  The panel of industry heavy weights, including British producer David Heyman, President of the Shanghai Film Group Ren Zhonglun and British talent agent and co-chair of The Independent Talent Group Duncan Heath, will have a range of perspectives on how to how to make successful collaborations. They will discuss how China can benefit from UK talent and skills and learn from its success in making films that are appreciated by audiences the world over, as well as exploring how UK filmmakers can benefit from working with Chinese talent and expertise .

Shanghai on Film, 1900-1946

March 2nd 12.15- 12.35pm and March 3rd 12-12.25pm, Creative Exchange 1

The BFI’s Head Curator Robin Baker will present rare films from the BFI National Archive exploring life and landscape in Shanghai during the first half of the 20th century, some of which have never been seen in UK or Chinese cinemas before now.

The films will travel back in time to Imperial China and the last years of the Qing dynasty to discover how one of the city’s central streets, Nanjing Road, looked 115 years ago. Rare travelogues will give a glimpse of the city’s busy port in 1908, will feature Shanghai’s famous heritage waterfront, the Bund, in its heyday in the 1920s and 30s, and will also look at river life among the junks and sampans on the Huangpu River. There’s also footage from the Chinese Civil War which caught alight between the Kuomintang and the Communists in 1927, with British, American and European troops dispatched to occupy the city’s International Settlement. The films, all non-fiction, will be a mix of travelogues, newsreels, home movies, and documentaries from the BFI National Archive.

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