Brits in Beijing. And Guangzhou too.
Felicity Jones in Ralph Fiennes' The Invisible Woman: screening at Beijing International Film Festival
The 4th Beijing International Film Festival runs from 15 – 24 April and the British Council has been working with the BFI to ensure a stronger than ever UK presence.
The nine British films in the main festival demonstrate the current UK filmmaking from Richard Curtis’ About Time, to Clio Barnard’s The Selfish Giant – winner of the Europa Cinemas award at Cannes - via Best Film and Best Director winner at the British Independent Film Awards, Sean Ellis’ Metro Manila. See below for the other selected films.
Elsewhere, Aardman co-founder Peter Lord, and director of The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists, is speaking at the Festival’s Summit on the Beauty of Film at the China National Film Musuem - this year’s theme is the Art and Technology of Animated Film.
A selection of BAFTA shorts is screening at the China National Film Museum. And the China Film Archive is showing the Anthony Asquith’s Underground (1928) – restored by the BFI Archive and with its new score by Neil Brand - and Julien Temple’s London: The Modern Babylon.
Three programmes of artists’ films are being introduced at Ullens Centre for Contemporary Art by Gil Leung, Head of Programme at LUX, including: Ben Rivers’ acclaimed first feature Two Years at Sea; GAZWRX: The Films of Jeff Keen; and New Materials, a programme of new artists' video, including works by Ed Atkins and Turner Prize winners Elizabeth price, Mark Leckey and Laure Prouvost. Gil is also presenting the programme at the Guangdong Times Museum in Guangzhou.
In the last year there has been an unprecedented increase in engagement between the UK and Chinese film industries, including new business partnerships for Pinewood and Arts Alliance and the much anticipated co-production treaty (to be signed during the Festival). Last summer, all nine of Hitchcock's silent films were screened – some with live music - at Shanghai International Film Festival, where Tom Hooper (The King's Speech, Les Misérables) was the Jury President; Sally Potter will be on the jury this year.
The BFI has embarked on a year of business, trade, creative and cultural collaborations between the UK and China. Electric Shadows (the Chinese term for movies or “dian ying”), encompasses the BFI’s full range of exhibition, archive, digital, education, theatrical and DVD distribution and publishing initiatives, opening up previously hard to see Chinese cinema to UK audiences and making UK film accessible to what will soon become the world’s biggest box-office nation.
The BFI’s international strategy has identified China as a priority territory for the UK film industry, envisaging growth opportunities across co-production, export and cultural exchange. The UK and China have agreed the terms of a film co-production treaty and are awaiting a date for signature and, subsequently, ratification. Taking forward its aims to encourage relationships and mutual understanding between the UK and Chinese film industry, the BFI is taking a delegation of film industry professionals to Beijing.