Micro-film festival launches in New York

Updated: 2014-10-15 11:38

By Amy He at the United Nations(China Daily USA)

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 Micro-film festival launches in New York

Organizers and participants at the launching reception of the Shenzhen International Short Film Festival at UN headquarters in New York on Tuesday. Quan Zhongyu (second from right) is the curator for the film festival, which is set to begin in Shenzhen on Dec 19.  Amy He / China Daily

Shenzhen's International Micro-Film Festival was launched at United Nations headquarters in New York on Tuesday night, kicking off an event that drew more than 1,500 original micro-film submissions from all over the globe.

Over the next few months, 100 of those works will be chosen and nominated to compete for 20 awards, according to the festival's website.

"In China, there are a large number of people who devote themselves to micro-filmmaking. They are a force to be reckoned with in the international cinema. Shenzhen International Micro-Film Festival is thus held to boost the development of the micro-film industry and strengthen and exchange production techniques. It establishes a platform where youth from around the globe can realize their filmmaking dreams," organizers said in a statement.

Films can be submitted in four different categories: public welfare, animation, feature and documentary. Chinese actress Siqin Gaowa, Hong Kong director Ann Hui and Turkish-Israeli filmmaker Roy Wol will be the festival judges. The festival will begin in Shenzhen on Dec 19 and end on Dec 21.

So-called microfilms are short, low-budget films made by amateur filmmakers that are published and consumed via the country's Internet video portals. The Chinese term for microfilms - weidianying - makes reference to Weibo, the Twitter-like platform where many of these films make their debut.

At the launch ceremony held at the UN on Tuesday, festival curator Quan Zhongyu said the diversity of the films submitted is what makes the festival unique.

"Short films have become a popular and powerful form of expression among the younger generations of China," he said in opening remarks. "The Shenzhen International Micro-Film Festival establishes a platform from which these young artists can further develop their filmmaking skills."

Shenzhen is also one of the most important cities in China, contributing significantly to the country's economy, and one of the most innovative and creative cities, Quan said.

"Shenzhen is a beautiful city with a very pleasant climate. In addition, it is one of the most innovative cities in China," Quan said. "In 2008, Shenzhen was appointed as a UNESCO City of Design. The people of Shenzhen are creative and innovative, and this is apparent in the very infrastructure of the city."

The festival is hosted by the Shenzhen Municipal Propaganda Department, the Central New Film Group, the Short Film Committee in Chinese Television Artists Association, the Asia Micro-film Art Festival Association and the Sino-American Cultural Association.

Wol, one of the judges, said he was excited about the potential consumption power of the Chinese-speaking market for short films.

"We're hearing more and more about independent films in China reaching a million views or more via the video-on-demand platforms," he said. "To have an independent film here without a theatrical release reach that kind of audience in the US is kind of unprecedented. It's been said that this is only the beginning of the golden era of Chinese cinema."

In a market where there's an abundance of feature-length films and not enough distribution channels to allow all films to be consumed by audiences, "short films remarkably stand in a very advantageous place, as they're more easily consumable in our hi-tech, high-speed internet era", Wol said.