It's Mainland China's largest film festival you may never have heard of. Held this year between June 11 and June 19, the 15th Shanghai International Film Festival (Shànghǎi Guójì Diànyǐngjié, 上海国际电影节) is not Cannes, but these annual festivals bring a number of international and domestic celebrities to the city (Chinese action star Donnie Yen was at the 2007 festival and American director Barry Levinson and Spanish actress Paz Vega came to SIFF 2011) and show alternatives to the Hollywood blockbusters that generally dominate the 20 slots allowed for foreign film imports to China (the foreign film import quota just recently increased by 14). More after the jump....
First held in October of 1993, the festival was held every two years in Shanghai until 2001, when it became annual (only skipping 2003 due to the SARS crisis). The festivities are dominated by the festival's two big awards, the Golden Goblet Award (Jīn Jué Jiǎng, 金爵奖) and the Asian New Talent Award (Yàzhōu Xīnrén Jiǎng, 亚洲新人奖). Films chosen by the selection committee (this year's contestants for the Golden Goblet Award have been announced) are judged by a panel of international celebrities and awarded along with prizes for best actor and the other usual categories.
French filmmaker Jean Jacques Annaud leads this year's jury for the Golden Goblet. Annaud is a surprising choice for a festival organized by the city government considering he was banned from China for making a certain movie about China's favorite sensitive region. Despite this, the director has also been asked to come to China to film the adaptation of the book Wolf Totem. This year's Asian New Talent Award will be judged by an international jury chaired by Iranian filmmaker Amir Naderi.
Smartphone-wielding filmmakers will be facing off in the second annual Shanghai Exhibition Center. International and domestic distributors and film buyers set up for days of pitching at China's only film market.
The registration fee for guests isn't cheap, however and the RMB 1,800 per person cost jumps to RMB 2,400 after May 29. The good news is they do take credit card.
15th Shanghai International Film Festival (Shànghǎi Guójì Diànyǐngjié, 上海国际电影节) June 11-16 Tel: (86 21) 6280 8991 Fax: (86-21) 6280 8992 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org