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Curtain set to rise on Beijing film festival

Updated: 2024-04-02 10:17 ( China Daily )
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The jury panel for the festival's top honor, the Tiantan Award. [Photo provided to China Daily]

For the first time since the annual festival's launch in 2011, the Diplomat Film Season — a segment intended to enhance international exchange and cooperation by showing high-quality films — will be introduced this year. In a bid to enhance its global appeal, the festival plans to extend invitations to diplomats from the embassies of Brazil, Seychelles, the Republic of Gabon, and ASEAN countries, in China, as well as representatives from the countries with films nominated for the Tiantan Award.

Huo Zhijing, director of the Beijing Municipal Film Administration, said that Brazil will be the guest of honor at this year's festival, to mark the 50th anniversary of China-Brazil diplomatic relations this year.

As one of the top highlights drawing many die-hard movie fans, more than 240 Chinese and foreign films will be shown in 27 theaters and around 750 screenings in Beijing and neighboring Tianjin municipality and Hebei province, some of which have not been widely released in or officially imported to the Chinese mainland. The most anticipated include the American sci-fi film Blade Runner 2049, director Zhang Yimou's The Story of Qiu Ju, and Spanish film The Spirit of the Beehive.

As a platform for the local audience to gain insight from prestigious filmmakers, the festival will hold three master classes. These will be respectively given by Kusturica, president of the Tiantan Award jury, who has won the Cannes Film Festival's top honor, the Palme d'Or, twice; Hong Kong director Ann Hui, a recipient of the Golden Lion award for lifetime achievement at the Venice International Film Festival; and actress-director Joan Chen, who shot to international fame with her role in the 1987 epic The Last Emperor.

Additionally, four themed forums will delve into hot topics in the industry, from raising investment to using cutting-edge technology, such as artificial intelligence.

Yu Junsheng, deputy director of the Publicity Department of the Beijing Municipal Committee of the Communist Party of China, said that the festival seeks to boost mutual learning between civilizations, and enhance Beijing's soft power and cultural influence.

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