Shanghai film fest needs better management (

24 June 2011 21 h 11 min 6 comments

All the jury members of the 14th Shanghai International Film Festival meet the press in Shanghai on June 11, 2011.

As the only A-list global cinematic event in China, the Shanghai International Film Festival undoubtedly arouses high hopes for a lot of people. Unfortunately, I cannot see any improvement over last year either in film selection or services. Sadly, its services seemed to deteriorate.

By Pang Li,, June 23, 2011

The 14th edition of the festival — lasting from June 11 to 19 — showcased 16 films from Asia, Europe and America lining up to compete for the Golden Goblet Awards. Judging from the nine films I watched, I have to say the selection was quite a disappointment. Most of the films were second- or even third-rate. Dragging too long and over-filled with dialogues, some of them were terribly boring and prone to put the audience to sleep. I cannot see why these films, totally lacking in merit, were selected for competition.

This year a jury, headed by American director Barry Levinson, gave five out of nine awards to two Chinese films. Last year, a jury handed out half of the eight awards to a single Chinese film. These cannot be merely coincidental, given the poor quality of these works. It indicated that the jury may follow a certain unwritten code.

This year, the Chinese film “The Young Man Sings Folk Song in the Opposite Door” (shooting picture) won the largest number of awards. But two out of its three wins – the best actress and screenplay — were utterly unconvincing. The film, in essence, is a publicity instrument for Ziyang, a town in Shaanxi Province where the film is set. As its name may indicate, the de facto leading role is Ziyang’s local folk-song art. The film was funded and generally produced under the guidance of the local authorities. It was doomed to be a failure from the very start. The film, itself, proved to be so. Its screenplay was segmented and largely lacked coherence. All the characters were paper-thin, far-fetched and forgettable. In particular, the leading female character was so cold-blooded and pathetic that I doubted I was watching a love story. The fact that the script was named the best is way beyond my understanding. Actress Lu Xingchen delivered an average performance for her debut role in the film. But I am absolutely sure that Turkish actress Nilufer Acikalin’s tour-de-force acting in “Hayde Bre” eclipsed Lu’s in every way.
This year, the festival’s organizers showed a detached attitude, with disastrous results. They said reporters could get free attendance for competition films. But they would rather hand out free tickets to local residents than let the reporters see the films.


Meanwhile, a team of scalpers were in full operation. As a result, tickets for four films’ official screenings were said to be sold out. At the so-called sold-out screenings, five to six thug-like, expressionless staff members would stand outside the screening room and curtly wave every reporter away. When asked if they could get in to see whether all the seats were taken, their answer was always annoying. “We cannot do anything.”

On one occasion, I, along with some other reporters, managed to elbow into a “sold-out” official screening of Italian film “Ainom” and found out quite a few seats were empty.

Here the organizers seemed to lose the plot. For a film festival, if the reporters are shunned away from the official screenings, what would there be for them to report? Without showing films to reporters, would the related press releases mean anything?

Jury member Wang Quan’an actually sensed the festival’s diversion from its goal. He commented that the festival seemed not to focus on cinema itself but on money. It was overwhelmed by money-grabbing producers who bragged about getting money from investors and achieving big box offices.
Now, the path the organizers are taking is obviously problematic. It cannot make the festival live up to its status. Organizers should think more about how to improve before it is too late.

Opinion articles reflect the views of their authors, not necessarily those of

SOURCE: (23/6/2011)

Related posts:

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Other News

  • China (mainland) film Brilliant future expected for Chinese cinema: interview

    Brilliant future expected for Chinese cinema: interview

    Jiang Wen (R), a well-known Chinese director, walks down the red carpet with his wife Zhou Yun at the opening ceremony of the 70th Venice Film Festival in Venice, Italy, Aug 29, 2013. [Photo / Xinhua] (Xinhua, 04 Sep, 2013)Chinese films have achieved over the past few years very positive results in terms of both quantity and quality, and will drive their technology-led development, 70th Venice Film Festival president Alberto Barbera told Xinhua in a recent exclusive interview. This venerable [...]

    Read more →
  • Breaking news China (mainland) film Cloudary extends script to movie industry

    Cloudary extends script to movie industry

    (, 26 Aug, 2013) Cloudary Corp – an online literature platform owned by interactive media giant Shanda Group – said on Friday that it reached a film script agreement with the Chinese movie firm Seven Stars Films. Seven Stars Films, a movie production and investment firm owned by Chinese media entrepreneu r Bruno Wu, will link Cloudary’s literature with the world’s movie industry. Wu, who is married to popular TV host Yang Lan, founded Seven Star Films in 2012. The [...]

    Read more →
  • Breaking news China (mainland) film China’s movie market booms with local content

    China’s movie market booms with local content

    ( Agencies, 23 Aug, 2013) In “American Dreams in China”, Cheng Dongqing is giving a lecture in an abandoned factory in Beijing . Snow falls through the damaged roof and a power cut sends students reaching for their flashlights. The movie , about how young Chinese in the 1990s tried every means to learn English so they could study overseas, is part of a boom in domestic productions that is outpacing foreign film s at the box office in China. [...]

    Read more →
  • Breaking news China (mainland) film Fast forward with film

    Fast forward with film

    (China Daily, 23 Aug, 2013) In the past year, Chinese films have galloped ahead like a dark horse, beating Hollywood imports. It is hardly surprising that most of these domestic hits are comedies. Comedy is mostly local. When Hollywood sent scouts to recover the secret formula, many of them reported that these Chinese movies were not particularly funny. Of course not. When you translate every line into English, you have lost much of the fun, leaving only a few sight [...]

    Read more →
  • Breaking news China (mainland) Digital Mobile game firms looking abroad

    Mobile game firms looking abroad

    (China Daily, 21 Aug, 2013) Intensifying domestic competition is driving Chinese mobile game developers into overseas markets, said Google Inc, owner of the world’s most used smartphone operating system. Japan and South Korea may become “sizeable” money-spinners for developers in China in the coming years, it added. “Tapping into South Korea and Japan makes sense for Chinese developers, because both countries have a large smartphone user base and high sales volume in the mobile gaming sector,” said Ben Zhang, China [...]

    Read more →
  • Breaking news China (mainland) tv PPTV denies buyout rumors

    PPTV denies buyout rumors

    (, 14 Aug, 2013) Online video provider PPTV has denied rumors it will be jointly acquired by e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd and Hunan Satellite TV. “We have noticed related media reports. PPTV is operating independently, well, and we have nothing to announce at present,” PPTV told China Daily on Wednesday. A report from IT industry portal said on Wednesday that the prospective deal is almost closed, with the transaction reaching $400 million. It cited venture capital sources [...]

    Read more →
  • Breaking news China (mainland) film Film industry needs long tail to grow

    Film industry needs long tail to grow

    (China Daily, 15 Aug, 2013) The domestic film market registered record half-yearly box office returns of 10.9 billion yuan ($1.77 billion) in the first six months of this year, up 35 percent year-on-year, and there have been excited voices saying that the Chinese film industry is about to boom in the international market. However, box office success is just part of the industry’s chain, and without the further development of licensed movie merchandising, the Chinese film industry is still in [...]

    Read more →
  • Breaking news China (mainland) Digital New WeChat game becoming painfully popular

    New WeChat game becoming painfully popular

    (, 15 Aug, 2013) A new mobile phone game on WeChat, a social network app in China, is proving so popular that it’s causing hand injuries for many Chinese users. The game, which was recently introduced to WeChat’s 400 million subscribers, allows users to compete online with their friends in aircraft battles. Within two hours after the release of the game on Aug 5, there were more than 180 million downloads. But Zou Cheng, an orthopedic doctor at Hangzhou First [...]

    Read more →