33 Chinese films head to Houston

By MAY ZHOU in Houston | | Updated: 2017-03-27 05:38

33 Chinese films head to Houston

From right: WorldFest President Hunter Todd, Panorama China Chair Ray Jiang and Director Dan Qi announce the lineup for the 50th WorldFest on March 24. [Photo/China Daily] 

More than 100 people from China's film industry will bring 33 films to the 50th WorldFest — Houston International Independent Film Festival, organizers of the event announced on March 24.

The festival will begin on April 21 and end April 30, with the AMC 30 on Dunvale Road serving as the screening venue.

"We will screen more than 80 feature films from over 30 countries, about 800 international filmmakers are expected to attend this event," said Hunter Todd, founder and president of WorldFest. "Panorama China will premiere 33 new films from China, which are all North America Premieres, and at least eight World Premieres."

Todd said that other events include film/video production master classes on the use of drones in filmmaking, investing in feature films and how to obtain free stock footage from NASA.

In addition, festival clubs will be held every night for people to meet and network at the Marriott Westchase Hotel, headquarters of the festival.

Kathleen Haney, director of WorldFest, said this year's entries are less tragic and more humorous.

Of all the Chinese films, she was especially struck by three: A Paper Marriage — how a fake marriage to buy a house turned into a real marriage; Special Encounter — casual online role play games turn complicated; and Being a Cop — a son embarks on a path to become a chef against the wishes of his father, who is a police officer.

"WorldFest's focus on China is very exciting. I am delighted and fortunate to be part of it," said Haney.

Ray Jiang, chair of Panorama China, said that the US China Film and Cultural Forum and China's Film Project Promotion Summit will also be held during the festival.

"We want to make it into a platform for the world to know Chinese film, and provide opportunities for people with dreams of film to realize their potential. In the last two years, we have helped some Chinese films get aired in theatres in North America, enabled copyright sales and brought together film projects," Jiang said.

Confirmed VIPs in attendance include Yue-Sai Kan, Chinese-American Emmy-winning television host and producer; CCTV TV host Jiang Xiaohang; Zhang Hui, dean of the Beijing Film Academy; producer Ji Erwei; screenwriter Xu Bin; actor Wang Luoyong and Sun Chun. In addition, director Ang Lee and other popular Chinese stars are on the invitation list but yet to be confirmed.

Actress Lily Chen Foster, honorary chair of the festival, has worked with both actors Wang Luoyong and Sun Chun. "I was here when Ang Lee's Pushing Hands was first screened at the festival. Panorama China gives us an opportunity to connect Houston and China on a new level," said Foster.

China Consul for Cultural Affairs Xie Fei said he's glad to see Panorama China grow from 20 to 33 films this year.

"The increase means that Americans have a stronger desire to learn about China," Xie said. "As the second-largest economy, China has close ties with the US in politics, economy and culture. Each film tells a Chinese story and there are 33 stories to tell. It will help Americans to know China better."

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