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Film festival leaders discuss int’l movie festivals and city influence

Twenty-two chairpersons from prominent international film festivals attend a forum on film festivals and city influence at the First Beijing International Film Festival on Sunday, April 24, 2011.[Photo: CRIENGLISH.com]

Nearly two dozen chairpersons of prominent international film festivals participated in a forum on film festival and city influence Sunday at the inaugural Beijing International Film Festival (BIFF).

The unprecedented meeting featured 22 participants who discussed their perspectives on how international cooperation could help promote diversity in world cinema. They provided advice on how Beijing should run the BIFF in the future to turn it into a highly successful event.

Stefan Laudyn, Director of the Warsaw Film Festival, said he was thrilled to see the start of the BIFF. He said the fact that China was one of the fastest growing film markets automatically put Beijing on a different level. He quoted a line from Bob Dylan’s song "The Times They Are A Changin’," saying Beijing would have a significant impact on cinema years from now.

Bailey Cameron from the Toronto International Film Festival showed a video advertising the Canadian city’s film festival as a "pictures speaks louder than words" example of how to run a popular film festival. Aiming to find more areas of cooperation with China, he hinted at the possibility of the TIFF featuring new Chinese films. He also noted that the Oscar award-winning British film "Slumdog Millionaire" and the British historical drama "The King’s Speech" both premiered at the TIFF.

Serge Losique, President of the Montreal World Film Festival who has visited China many times and knows many Chinese filmmakers, emphasized that Beijing’s international film festival should seek its own personality to stand out among others. He said the BIFF was unique in that it had material support from the local government and the state media watchdog, the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT), which was rare in other countries. He said this would lay a good foundation for the film festival to move quickly and more freely.

Other forum participants, including Marco Muller from the Venice International Film Festival, Lee Yong Kwan from the Busan International Film Festival and Jose Antonio from the Mar del Plata International Film Festival, gave speeches and shared their experiences with running film festivals.


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