31 film festivals of 'Belt and Road' countries form a coalition in Shanghai
At the ongoing Shanghai International Film Festival, 31 film festivals from countries participating in the Belt and Road Initiative have started a new alliance that will act as a platform for joint projects and film culture exchanges.
Carla Mooney is one of the co-founders of the Silk Road International Film Festival based in Dublin in Ireland. It is one of the many participants in the new alliance.
At the ongoing Shanghai International Film Festival, 31 film festivals from countries participating in the Belt and Road Initiative have started a new alliance that will act as a platform for joint projects and film culture exchanges. [Photo: cri.cn]
"It (the alliance) just opens up a whole new world for people to connect, and for like filmmakers and filmgoers as well to learn other countries' cinematic influences. It just opens up a dialogue or a conversation to explore opportunities for co-productions and to even bring films from different regions. The Belt and Road Initiative, I think, is of paramount importance like for all filmmakers to actually have an opportunity to showcase the films in these countries."
In 2015, the Shanghai International Film Festival launched a special screening program focusing on films produced by the countries participating in the Belt and Road Initiative.
This year, a "Belt and Road Film Week" has been run alongside the Shanghai Film Festival to coincide with the launch of the new alliance.
26 films from 26 different countrie will be screened during the Belt and Road Film Week, and there will be audience and jury prizes awarded to the best films and best filmmaker.
Yang Jianguo is a media consultant for the Shanghai International Film Festival.
"We are all very familiar with Hollywood films and very often learn from their production. But the countries of the Belt-and-Road Initiative all have their unique way of telling stories. Their films are like a mirror that reflects their different outlooks on life, their different national cultures and wisdom. In my opinion, film exchanges like these are very interesting."
The Shanghai Film Festival organizers are looking beyond the ongoing event to what the future may hold. They hope that the assistnace they provide can help excellent films from the Belt and Road countries becoming more widely known.
Fu Wenxia is an official with the Shanghai Festival's organizing committee.
"It is not just the countries within the Belt-and-Road initiative. The Shanghai Film Festival is working with the famous Asian Film Festival in New York for a special event for our film festival. During this event in July, in addition to Chinese films, some of these 20 or so films being screened at the film week would get another chance to be screened at the New York Asian Film Festival."
The New York Asian Film Festival's Deputy Director Stephen Cremin is currently in Shanghai. He said he attended most of the Shanghai Film Festivals event, and noticed many excellent films produced in Southeast Asia.
As a frequent visitor to the festival, he said he was delighted to witness the launch of the Belt and Road film week.
"It's kind of saying that we both have some similar taste in Southeast Asia and same support for the region. I think this year especially, it's a strongest lineup at Southeast Asian films in Shanghai festival. So for us, we are coming closer in a programming quality of the region."
The Shanghai International Film Festival opened on Saturday and is scheduled to close on June 25th.