Beijing film festival receives 1,450 award entries

The upcoming 12th Beijing International Film Festival (BJIFF) has received 1,450 domestic and foreign films to compete for its Tiantan Award, an increase of 63% over last year, organizers said at a press conference held on July 28.

Organizers introduce the highlights and plans for the upcoming 12th Beijing International Film Festival (BJIFF) at a press conference held in Beijing, July 28, 2022. [Photo courtesy of BJIFF]

The abundant entries are rich in genres and themes from across the globe, including 1,193 foreign films from 88 countries and regions. After selection, 16 films were finally shortlisted for the award race.

The shortlisted films are: "In Search of Lost Time" (China), "Anatolian Leopard" (Turkey/Poland/Germany/Danmark), "Call Jane" (America), "Fast & Feel Love" (Thailand), "Full Time" (France), "Jai Bhim" (India), "Kong & Jigme" (China), "Off the Stage" (China), "Sardar Udham" (India), "Song of Spring" (China), "A Blind Man Who Did Not Want to See 'Titanic'" (Finland), "The Exam" (Germany/Iraq/Qatar) , "The Family" (France), "The Good Boss" (Spain), "Unrest" (Switzerland), and "Utama," (Bolivia/Uruguay/France).

The 12th BJIFF invites a number of Chinese and foreign headline filmmakers to sit on the jury. With the veteran Chinese actor Li Xuejian as president, the international jury of the Tiantan Award this year includes six other members: Chinese director Frant Gwo, British director Malcolm Clarke, Argentine director Lucrecia Martel, Italian director Michelangelo Frammartino, Chinese actress Qin Hailu, and Chinese director and actor Wu Jing.

Notable is the participation of Lucrecia Martel, who presided over the international jury of the 76th Venice International Film Festival in 2019, and who in this year's BJIFF also celebrates her debut at an Asian film festival. Meanwhile, Michelangelo Frammartino has just been announced as the president of the jury for the Luigi De Laurentiis Award Lion of the Future section of the Venice International Film Festival.

The organizers announced at the press conference that this edition of BJIFF is themed "United We Advanced." The film festival will have nine major sections, including the Tiantan Award, the opening ceremony and red carpet, "Beijing Film Panorama" screenings of various noted films, themed forums where film executives will discuss and share insights, the Beijing Film Market, where film companies will sign deals, the Film Carnival where people can enjoy film cultural activities, the Beijing College Student Film Festival, the closing & awards ceremony, and "Film+," which highlight crossover innovation elements in film to facilitate more film engagement between various industries and personnel. Furthermore, the festival will once again work with iQIYI streaming platform to hold a two-week "Online BJIFF" event to stream more than 100 films online.

Online BJIFF Market will debut in Baidu's "Xirang" Metaverse Space to build the world's first "metaverse film palace," according to the festival's official website. In addition, the Project Pitches Section has drawn wide attention and registered a record number of participants. After three rounds, 853 films have so far made their way to jury members, including Derek Yee, Zhang Yuqi, Liang Lin, and Zhu Weijie. In the BJIFF TALENTS category, more than 300 young directors have signed up to create five sci-fi shorts under the theme of "Beijing · Future."

There will be more than 100 classic films screened in local theaters during the much-anticipated Beijing Film Panorama section from Aug. 12-21. The highlights include several films by Theodoros Angelopoulos, considered a Greek master, and the highly acclaimed new Japanese animated feature "Inu-Oh" (2022). The selection also boasts the latest digitally restored versions of such classic works as François Truffaut's "Antoine Doinel" franchise, Martin Scorsese's "The Last Waltz," and Kinuyo Tanaka's "The Moon Has Risen." There will be a Hong Kong films special screening as well as a "Beach Screening" event that will be held at the Azure Coast in Qinhuangdao, Hebei province.

This year also marks the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to the motherland. At the opening ceremony, the BJIFF and the Hong Kong International Film Festival (HKIFF) will announce a cooperation agreement to provide more training and exchange opportunities for young filmmakers from both cities.

Nearly 100 groups of guests and celebrities will appear on the red carpet and at the opening ceremony near the scenery Yanqi Lake, the organizers noted, while workshops and masterclasses by jury members Li Xuejian and Malcolm Clarke will also be held.

The 12th BJIFF, guided by the China Film Administration, hosted by China Media Group and the People's Government of Beijing Municipality, and organized by the Beijing Municipal Film Administration, the Beijing Municipal Radio and Television Bureau, Beijing Radio & Television Station, the Huairou District People's Government of Beijing Municipality and Beijing Enterprises Group Company Limited, will take place in Beijing from Aug. 13 to 20, 2022.