Panorama China will premiere 20 Chinese films in US

Updated: 2016-02-22 06:35

By MAY ZHOU in Houston(China Daily USA)

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Panorama China will premiere 20 Chinese films in US

Hunter Todd (second from left), CEO and founder of WorldFest Houston, introduces the upcoming Panorama China program on Feb 19 in Houston along with China’s Consul of Culture Yang Song (right), Panorama China Chairman Ray Jiang (left) and WorldFest Director Kathleen Haney. MAY ZHOU / CHINA DAILY

Panorama China will make up part of the 49th WorldFest Houston — the international independent film festival where famous directors such as Ang Lee, the Cohen Brothers and Steven Spielberg were first honored prior to their wide recognition — the organizers announced on Feb 19.

"Last year we had our first introductory Panorama China," said Hunter Todd, founder and president of WorldFest. "This year we expanded it to be a major spotlight of Chinese cinema for all of North America. We will premiere 20 new films from China, which will open a window to the world of the incredible capabilities of China filmmaking.

"I love to tell people that, if you see a film from China and see 10,000 horsemen in costumes and spears, it's not CGI (computer-generated images), it's 10,000 real horsemen on horses. The Chinese make amazing movies," Todd said.

Todd said that after premiering 20 films in the US this fall, he will bring 20 of the finest films with their directors from the world to China.

Last year, five Chinese films were presented at the WorldFest. China's Walking to School was well received and won the top prize.

According to China's Consul of Culture Yang Song, Todd was invited to attend the Shanghai Film Festival and had extensive contact with the Chinese film industry after last year's Panorama China. That led to the expansion of the Panorama China program for this year.

"I believe that people can get to know about a country, its people and culture through film-watching. This will help foster mutual understanding. We are hoping that Panorama China will become a regular program and the largest platform for Chinese films to be premiered in North America," Yang said.

Ray Jiang, chairman of Panorama China, said that more than 100 Chinese filmmakers will attend the WorldFest. "We will help to promote the Chinese art and culture through a film lens to the world. The WorldFest has discovered a few star directors in the past. We hope the next Chinese star director will be born here," Jiang said.

This year, more than 100 films from China were submitted to the program. According to Qi Dan from Dream River Studio, so far 11 films have been selected, and the committee is continuing to screen the submissions.

The Compact Density of Stone, a film about China's former leader Deng Xiaoping, will be the opening film for Panorama China.

Chinese actress Lily Chen Foster said that she was there when Ang Lee's Pushing Hands was showcased at WorldFest in 1992.

"Over the years, China has changed socially and economically. I have seen more and better films from China. This also provides a platform for our next generation to get to know China better. So, people, buy tickets, watch films," Foster said.

According to Todd, the WorldFest, scheduled for April, will present a total of 60 films from around the world. One screening theater will be dedicated to Panorama China at the AMC 30 Studio on Dunvale.