DC film festival gets geared up for act two

Updated: 2014-04-03 11:11

By Liu Chang in Washington (China Daily USA)

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Every two years, the DC Chinese Film Festival brings together young and established filmmakers, film scholars, industry professionals, and festival patrons to Washington DC for a week long treat of rare screenings, cutting-edge panel discussions, and networking events. The festival focuses on new and independent films and is hoped to serve as a cradle for independent Chinese cinema. This year's festival will be held Sept 4-7, it was announced on Sunday.

The festival calls globally for entries in the following main categories: narrative feature, documentary feature, narrative short, animated short and experimental short.

The co-organizer of this year's festival is Fusion Investment Alliance. Prominent jury members include Peggy Chiao, a major figure in shaping New Taiwan Cinema in the 1980s and '90s and a major force in Chinese-language cinema.

"The biggest difference of this year's festival is that we will have panel discussions in addition to film screenings," said Echo Xie, festival deputy director. Xie said the festival will invite established filmmakers from different organizations, like the China Hollywood Society, to talk about current issues in the film industry.

"Our committee prepared a whole year to set up the second festival," said Yibin Cai, the director of the festival. "This year the festival committee is putting together a richer and more diverse program."

Marketing and public relations co-director Wen Yan told the audience at the press conference that the committee set up an online festival section on Youku, a Chinese video hosting service similar to Youtube, for participants to upload their works, so that everyone can share movies online.

Peggy Peng, wife of Dahang Wei who is a festival board member, attended the press conference Sunday and spoke on behalf of Wei who was currently in China. Wei, an independent filmmaker and director on the Chinese mainland, recently wrote and directed dozens of independent films that mostly focused on Chinese social issues such as education challenges faced by migrant workers, health care problems and hardships in the housing market.

Peng said since there is no rating system in China, the only movies that are accessible in theaters are commercial movies, leaving out the art and independent movies. "Wei is devoted to bringing art and independent cinema that reflect society, human nature, and universe to international audiences. So, as a board member, Wei is especially enthusiastic about joining the festival," Peng said. "In a country that celebrates cultural diversity, I hope this year's festival will become a great success."

Beryl Chen, who won the best music video in the first festival in 2012, spoke during the conference. "The film festival supports people from all kinds of backgrounds to follow their passion," Chen said.

The festival was founded in 2011 as a non-profit organization dedicated to discovering outstanding Chinese cinema the world over and encouraging cultural diversity through films. The organization is run on a volunteer basis by a group of young professionals and students who enthusiastically care about film and culture. The first festival attracted 117 short films and eight feature films from the Chinese mainland, Taiwan, Hong Kong and the Chinese Diaspora. So far 108 entries have been submitted for this year.


 DC film festival gets geared up for act two

The organizing committee of the second DC Chinese Film Festival held its press conference on March 30, calling for film entries from the US, the Chinese mainland, Taiwan and the Chinese diaspora. Cai Chunying / China Daily

(China Daily USA 04/03/2014 page3)