ODYSSEY – THE BIGGEST CHINESE FILM FESTIVAL OF THE YEAR IN THE UK FROM 10th MAY TO 10th JUNE 2022
UK-CHINA FILM COLLAB (UCFC) IS PRESENTING ‘ODYSSEY’ –
THE BIGGEST CHINESE FILM FESTIVAL OF THE YEAR IN THE UK FROM 10th MAY TO 10th JUNE 2022
‘Odyssey: a Chinese cinema season’ is launching in the UK this May. Collaborating with Picturehouse Cinemas, The Prince Charles Cinemas (in-person) and Shift 72 (online), the festival will create a hybrid experience to reach as many attendees as possible across the UK and worldwide.
Named after one of the most significant works of the Western canon, ‘Odyssey’ aims to offer an exciting and mysterious journey through the contemporary Sino-cinematic world. Odyssey strives to empower the shared appreciation of cinema, drive inclusiveness in the film industry, and facilitate cross-cultural communication. The festival will not only introduce the latest young Chinese film talents to the UK audience, but also host panels with industry experts, scholars, and filmmakers to boost creativity and exchange ideas.
The curation of Odyssey revolves around diverse themes and genres. The screenings range from short films and features to new moving images by contemporary Chinese artists. Demonstrating a pioneering and artistic spirit, short film programmes like ‘Shanghai Animation Film Studio Retro’ attempt to break the boundaries between narrative and aesthetics and reimagine cinematography and visual art dimensions. In the feature film section, topics like ‘Women Through Lens‘ and ‘Chinese Regional Cinema’ showcase the dynamics of Chinese society, culture, and aesthetics. All screenings will include a series of Q&As prepared by the curation team and special guests including filmmakers, academics, curators, and critics.
Industry-focused panels were the festival’s highlight last year, which have attracted over 500 participants. Now in its second year, rebranded, Odyssey has prepared another 10 new industry topics. From global sustainability to new business models, from co-production to distribution, from regional cinemas to female film programmers, all subjects are the leading visions and will help explore film-related collaborations between the UK and Greater China.
The opening film screening event will be hosted in person by the Picturehouse Cinemas in London and Edinburgh on 10th May with a reception. The festival programme will bring about a whole month of Chinese cinema from 10th May to 10th June 2022, with more than 60 films in 8 curated sections, 10 panel discussions, and Q&A sessions. Outstanding, innovative, and inspiring, these films promise to add some sparkle to 2022. Most of the programme will be available online for all audiences across the country, and several pop-up special cinema screenings will come up throughout the festival. The online festival platform of Odyssey will be powered by Shift 72, a leading streaming technology that has been used by renowned international festivals such as Cannes and Toronto.
FESTIVAL FILM PROGRAMME OVERVIEW
Opening Film (Offline Screening)
Hard Love (2021) UK Premiere
The opening film Hard Love centres on the wave of single girls. It discusses social hotspots like love, marriage, family, work, and childbirth, which today’s youth are most concerned about. Spanning eight cities, including Shanghai, Beijing, Xi’an, San Francisco, and Phu Quoc Island, this documentary offers a group portrait of Chinese single women within a delicately-designed 97 minutes. Modern single women are also a heated topic for young people in the UK. Based on this mutual concern, this opening film shall go beyond the national boundary and bring audiences together.
Date and Time: 10 May 2022 | Tuesday 19:30 pm BST
Location: Picturehouse Fulham, 142 Fulham Rd., London SW10 9QR
Pop-up Special Cinemas (Offline Screening)
Lan Yu (2001) 4K Restoration
A classic that has come through decades of critics, Lan Yu is one of the best gay films that China has ever produced. The film is not driven by homosexuality; it is a story about love. Its storytelling captures the arc of two souls and the vicissitudes of Beijing over a decade. This 20th anniversary 4K restoration version brings its 90s tonality to life to the fullest.
Date and Time: 12 May 2022 | Thursday 18:30 pm BST
Location: The Prince Charles Cinema, 7 Leicester Pl, London WC2H 7BY
River of Salvation (2020) UK Premiere
FIRST’s favourite, River of Salvation, unfolds a down-to-earth portrait of life in a small town in southern China. With a meticulous narrative structure and its ‘last six minutes reversal,’ the script draws enormous emotional power from the deeply buried history of millions of ordinary women and their everyday struggles.
Date and Time: 17 May 2022 | Tuesday 19:30 pm BST
Location: Pictureshouse Finsbury Park, Unit 1 Cinema LS, 17 City N Pl, London N4 3FU
Short Films (Online Screening)
Neo Horizon: The festival has curated this screening and award category called “Neo Horizon: The Audience Award”. Our audience will have the opportunity to review and select films which will be nominated for this award. The curation team of Odyssey have selected six outstanding short films from all 123 submissions for this award. These refreshing and reflective films explore a vast range of critical issues facing our society today, and transport viewers explore the unique relationship between place, city and an individual in a mysterious cinematic world.
An Exploration: This section consists of 29 award winning short films, highlights the different genres, themes, and aesthetics of 21st-century Chinese cinema, ranging from atmospheric shorts to incisive documentaries. This section begins with a slice of contemporary Chinese sci-fi before delving into musical productions, inventive animations, and comedy-dramas about cross-cultural misunderstandings. The section features a schoolgirl with a genius IQ, a drummer who finds inspiration in an ancient bathhouse, and a hard of hearing boy desperate to pursue his dancing dreams. The directors deftly tackle serious social issues, including sex trafficking and the SARS outbreak, alongside subtle character studies.
The Galaxy: Artists’ Moving Image: This is a must-watch experimental film programme spotlighting innovations in the moving image. Breaking the boundaries between film text and art creation, these films roam in their own artistic galaxy – and are all at the cutting edge of Chinese experimental cinema. The abstract concepts that drive “The Galaxy” are no less exciting, as the creators channel questions of cognition and perception through images of war, blindness, and light itself. These selected moving images represent the thrilling point at which film and visual art meet, creating a ground-breaking medium for authorial expression.
Shanghai Animation Film Studio Retro: This retrospective programme is in its second edition, supported by Shanghai Animation Film Studio. This section will be screened online from the 20th to the 26th of May. By looking back at classic Chinese animations such as Little Carp Jumps Over the Dragon Gate and The Little Stream from the 1960s, Nine-Colored Deer and The Deer’s Bell from the 1980s no in 2K restoration, this section offers UK audiences the opportunity to enjoy animated films of different eras and art styles while learning about the history of Chinese animation.
Feature Films (Online Screening)
The Emerging Waves: This section pays special attention to the new generation’s independent, arthouse, and documentary productions. From the 12th of May to the 19th of May, six innovative and inspiring films will be shown in this section in offline and online formats. Lan Yu (4K Restoration) which is one of the best gay films that China has ever produced, will be shown on the 12th of May at The Princes Charles Cinema. Another award-winning title River of Salvation will be screening on the 17th of May at Finsbury Park Picturehouse. Apart from these special offline screenings, four additional films will be shown online via Shift 72 from the 13th of May. Being Mortal reproduces the bitterness of life by depicting an Alzheimer’s patient’s family. The Fourth Wall creatively uses the parallel universe as a narrative technique to discuss how to reconcile with family, society, and ourselves. Black Tide Coast follows a poetic style, aiming to depict abstract emotions, ideas, and feelings beyond the control of the images. The Ark utilises documentary images to record the complicated relationship between individuals and society, science and religion.
Women Through Lens: This section focuses on women’s life experiences, which will be screened online from the 27th of May to the 2nd of June. This section currently consists of seven films, Wind exposes the plight of single mothers and daughters from ethnic minorities in a patriarchal society; Love Conquers All shows an ambivalent intimate relationship that can conquer as well destroy everything; Spring Tide portrays a mother-daughter relationship of two generations in which both warmth and confrontation are intertwined; One Summer through the eyes of the protagonist to reflect many social issues arising in China today, including marriage, education, urban development and the political system; and finally, Chang’E draws on the classical Chinese myth of “Chang’e running to the moon” to create an ironic and compassionate mirror metaphor between the unearthly fairy and the exhausted 55-year-old factory worker. Only You Alone takes us on a journey through the struggles of a young girl with epilepsy trying to realize her dream of dancing. We are also honoured to have Xie Fei’s Girl from Hunan with us, which is a pioneering work from the 1980s that reflects on and criticises the tragic situation of women trapped in feudal traditional marriage.
Chinese Regional Cinema: This section explores the diversity of Chinese regional cultures. From the 3rd of June to the 9th of June, by showing four carefully chosen films, this programme looks beyond Beijing and Shanghai to feature a diverse range of China’s regional filmmakers, breaking the supercity dominated stereotypes of Chinese cinema. Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains and Drifted in Life calmly display ordinary families’ incidents within the development of city and society in Southeast China. Wisdom Tooth reveals the story of a brother and a sister, situating an ambiguous, romantic, and heartbreaking relationship in the snowy Northeast region of China. Great Happiness takes viewers to the Northwest of China to experience both happiness and challenges three young adults need to face in the fast-developing city.
Surprise Film: A feature-length animated film The Legend of Sealed Book (4K Restoration) has been selected to be screened in our “Surprise Film” section, which will be released on the 1st of June online as a celebration and special tribute to the International Children’s Day at Odyssey.
ON UK-CHINA FILM COLLABORATIONS
Panel 1: TwinFlame: The Reception of British Cinema Among a Chinese Audience
How are UK films received by the Chinese audience? There is generally a lack of transparent data available. To fill in this gap of public knowledge, the UK-China Film Collab has been conducting a communication campaign #ukfilmsinChina across our various social media platforms. Lily Collinson and Leo Dong will speak at this panel discussing the reception of British cinema from a Chinese audience by analysing data gathered from Chinese platforms such as Douban. The panel will utilise reviews from Chinese viewers of recent British films such as ‘1917’ and ‘Kingsman: The Secret Service’ and analyse their relative success or failure in China. The speakers will look to the future of UK films in China and how the reception of such films can be improved to reinforce our connection, through our mutual appreciation of cinema.
Panel 2: Virtual Production & Potential Impact on Film Co-production
Across the global film industry, the development of film technology in the field of virtual production is revolutionising the production process from preview to release. Examples include such as The Lord of the Rings to the hit series The Mandalorian in recent years. The innovations of film technology, on one hand, bring audiences an extraordinary visual experience, but on the other hand, they also impact pre-production, shooting and post-production to varying degrees, especially in Sino-British co-productions. How the production teams of the two countries can unify technical standards during production becomes a key factor in the success of the collaboration. At the same time, in this post-epidemic era, what problems can virtual production solve? How rapidly is Virtual Production expected to get into wide-scale adoption？What problems are encountered in Sino-British virtual production? How can we overcome these problems? These are the questions that need to be urgently addressed.
The panel will discuss the emerging filmmaking workflow of virtual production, and its technical and creative aspects, in the context of a British-Chinese co-production. We have invited four industry guests, they are: Han Xiaoling (film producer), Jia Guanglei (DNEG (London) VP), Li Ningti (Base (Beijing) VP) and Zhao Jianjun (Associate Professor of Film and Television Technology Department of Beijing Film Academy). Combining multiple backgrounds, multi-angle and in-depth analysis of the application of virtual production in co-production films, this forum will provide some practical guidance and different perspectives on the application scenarios and impacts of virtual production in co-productions.
Panel 3: Women’s Practice in the Contemporary Chinese Film Industry: Female Film Programmers on the Rise
Film programming is a form of knowledge production. Whether the programmer is a part of an institution or independent, their job is never merely to choose “the best films” for their audience simply based on the film’s artistic merit. Their understandings of the world, cultural identities and political perspectives are always embodied in the film programmes they compile and therefore unwittingly influence the perceptions of their audience. Then, for a female film programmer, what role does her gender identity play in the programming practice?
With the growth of many newly established film festivals in China in recent years, more and more female programmers began to appear in the spotlight and take over positions of power. This led us to wonder what impact does the rise of female programmers have on the contemporary Chinese film industry? With such curiosities, we organised this discussion panel to focus on the rise of female film programmers in the contemporary Chinese film industry. This panel brings together four institutional and independent film programmers from different film festivals in China, to reflect on what changes their emergence has brought to this traditionally male-dominated field, as well as what challenges and dilemmas they encountered through their practice.
Panel 4: Potentials and Obstacles for British Cinema Showcase in China
Foreign countries’ film exhibitions have been practiced in cinemas in China for years, and there is a sophisticated model of organising non-Chinese films season led by arthouse cinema chains or film distribution associations. Showcases regarding French, Italian, and German films were regularly screened annually in China in the past few years. In the last several years, Chinese audiences also enjoyed large-scale Spanish film seasons, Finnish film exhibitions, Japanese film seasons, and even Brazilian film seasons in the cinemas. The organisational chain of foreign cinema showcases, together with audience groups have been well-developed by this special form of film screening, which gives foreign films that haven’t been officially screened or distributed in China another opportunity to meet today’s Chinese audience.
The showcase of British films, however, compared with its’ fellow ‘western non-Hollywood cinemas’, are rarely screened in China. We can draw the conclusion that there hasn’t been a cross-city British film exhibition in China. This panel tries to analyse the rarity of British film exhibitions in China and disclose the underlying reasons by answering the following questions. How does a foreign country’s film exhibition happen; do British films have the potential, what kind of British film exhibition would be expected by Chinese audiences; what are the obstacles when organising a foreign film exhibition, what would be the most probable barrier if we organise a British cinema showcase?
Panel 5: Chinese Regional Cinemas
This panel discussion will focus on mainland Chinese regional cinema from the past to present. We aim to expand the scope of Chinese cinema discussions by not relying on big cities, such as Shanghai and Beijing. Instead, this panel discussion will remind audiences of the diversity of Chinese cinema by tracing the history and development of different regional expressions in cinema. For example, we will touch upon multiple waves that are emerged in contemporary Chinese cinema with strong regional elements, from Northeast to Southern new waves. Furthermore, we will explore whether these waves can be seen as different directors’ identify with their hometowns. How do we interpret regional expressions? What constitutes the locality of mainland Chinese cinema, from local dialects, sceneries, memories, and unique cultures? Dr. Zhaoyu Zhu will conduct a presentation following a discussion between Zhaoyu and this panel discussion’s chair Jiakai Nie. With the audience having the ability to ask questions.
Panel 6: Global Sustainability as a Storytelling Strategy for Non-Hollywood Films
This panel will feature experts from the UK, Finland and China to discuss the importance of global sustainability as a storytelling strategy for the non-Hollywood international films. Environmental sustainability is a topic of global relevance, and one for which international action is needed in order to succeed. This panel will explore the impact that films have in making a social impact and attracting people’s sensibility towards this matter. Moreover, it will highlight the potential of this subject matter in transforming national, culturally bound, or personal stories into international and global ones, as was the case with My Octopus Teacher (2020).
The panel will present different approaches to the theme of sustainability in films, including animation, documentary, short films and comedies, and explore opportunities for the Chinese film industry to dig deeper into this topic for a better distribution of their films worldwide. The discussion will be followed by a live Q&A session where the audience will have a chance to ask their questions.
Panel 7: Future Development of Chinese Animation Industry and International Collaboration
The animation sector in China has been booming for a while, followed by the success of Ne Zha (2019), which grossed over £300 million at the box-office in its domestic market alone. Animation studios around the world are curious about this rising market and have been exploring ways to engage with it. Recent examples of international collaborations include Wish Dragon (2021) and Over the Moon (2021). Both films have gained a relatively good reputation worldwide although did not perform well at the Chinese box-office. On the contrary, Ne Zha did not travel far apart from its domestic success, why is this the case? Animation is considered the most accessible genre for a family-oriented audience. What are the potentials for Chinese animation and its international development? What kinds of stories are worth telling and what aesthetics are the best for an international audience to consume? This panel aims to explore the current and future state of Chinese animation in the international landscape.
Panel 8: An Investigation into Current Press Coverages of Chinese-language Films in the UK
The presence of Chinese cinema is increasing in the west, but how often is it even mentioned in British journalism? The Chinese box office is hot on the heels of America’s, and it will likely become the largest and most successful very soon. Journalism plays a crucial role in bridging the gap between a film and its audience, so if the ever-expanding world of Chinese films is unrepresented in journalism, how can it find an audience in the West? Martha’s research has been primarily based around collecting data to support her hypothesis that Chinese cinema is largely overlooked by British journalism. In this panel, Martha hopes to share her findings so far and start a discussion about the role of journalism in the world of cinema and international relations.
Panel 9: New Business Ideas and Models for UK-China Film Collaborations
This panel will introduce the latest AHRC funded project led by Dr Xiaosong Yang. The “UK-China Research and Innovation Collaboration in Cloud-based Virtual Film Production (UCCVP)” project aims to explore and investigate the status of cloud-based virtual film production in both the UK and China, identifying the key challenges of cross-country remote coordination and developing future strategic plans for UK-China collaborations in the film industry. The project will deliver a thorough market research report to inform and guide research institutes in the UK for future investment in working with China, and build a collaborative network in research and innovation, including beneficiaries in both academic and industrial communities from the two countries.
Panel 10: New Distribution Strategies for Chinese Films in the UK
The appearance of China as a modern nation has shaped the concurrent emergence of new cinematic styles. However, with all of that excitement, the visibility of Chinese films is still limited in the UK since the UK audience may only recall older generations of Chinese filmmakers like Zhang Yimou (Raise the Red Lantern) and Chen Kaige (Farewell My Concubine). Chinese language films rarely appear anywhere other than at film festivals, art-house cinemas, or digitally on demand. Therefore, the fluidity of foreign film distribution has complicated our understanding of international film culture, distribution, and exhibition of modern Chinese films across the UK. Innovative distribution methods might be the key to success, as it determines who gets to watch films, under what circumstances, and where.
Through this panel, we aim to have an open debate with industry specialists from film distributors to academics in the UK specialising in Chinese cinema and international distribution. Distribution strategies, translation, and UK-China film collaborations like co-productions could be referenced, along with discussions about the importance and impact of Chinese film releases on the UK audience.
* The detailed guest speakers list, schedule and registration links will be released soon.
COMMITTEE MEMBERS 2022
Head of Film Festival: Jiakai Nie (Franklin)
Jiakai has been appointed as the Head of Odyssey: a Chinese cinema season this year. He also serves as the Research Specialist for Chinese Regional Cinema at UK-China Film Collab. Jiakai is currently a postgraduate student in Film Studies at the University College London. His recent work has been published by Senses of Cinema, a prestigious online film journal.
Lead Film Curator: Yixiang Lin (Sherlly)
Sherlly is an independent curator, an international film distributor, founder of Unicorn Screening, selected to UCFC’s Future Talent Programme 2021-2022 and responsible for the film curation of Odyssey this year. She is currently studying MSc in Film, Exhibition and Curation at the University of Edinburgh, with a focus on female representation and cross-cultural encounters.
Lead of Operations: Zhilin Wang (Lynn)
Zhilin serves as the Lead of Operations at Odyssey. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in Creative Enterprise Film at the University of Reading. Prior to joining UCFC, she worked at multiple TV studios, and was responsible for planning and executing programmes. Her preferred genre of film is realism.
Lead of Public Relations: Liao Zhang
Liao is a PhD researcher in Film Studies at the University of Nottingham, specialising in Chinese girlhood cinema and (post)feminist theory. In addition to her role as the Lead of Public Relations at Odyssey, she also serves as the Lead Women’s Film Programme Curator at UK-China Film Collab, Training Officer at the MeCCSA PGN and Editor for Stanford Social Innovation Review, China.
Lead of Marketing: Shanshan Wu
Shanshan holds a B.A. and M.A. in both Film Studies and Filmmaking from the University of Sydney. She has worked for independent film agencies as a writer, director, and producer for commercials, promos, and short films. Her personal works include experimental film and video installations, which have been shown in group exhibitions, including “Decinema”, “Time Lost” and “Empty”.
Lead Designer: Yun Luo (Wayne)
Yun Luo is the Lead Designer for Odyssey this year. He is currently studying Global Arts Management BA at De Montfort University. He studied design for many years in China and has expertise in both graphic and environmental design. Yun has also worked for a leading design institution in China and has many award-winning works to his credit.
45+ co-workers are helping behind the scenes and they will be introduced later throughout the festival across different channels.
UK-China Film Collab
Azad Ayub Limited
Elaheh Nobakht, President of the Jury of the 6th Beirut Women Film Festival
Mansour Jahani – The Iranian movie producer, Elaheh Nobakht, has been elected as the jury president of the competition category “Documentary and Animated Shorts” at the 6th round of Beirut International Women Film Festival, heralding “Women for Leadership” as the focal topic of the event held in Lebanon.
With her third attendance at the Berlin International Film Festival in the preceding month as producer of the documentary feature film “Dreams’ Gate” in the competition category “Generations”, Nobakht had also formerly contributed as a juror to international festivals such as Switzerland’s FIFOG, Italy’s Religion Today Film Festival, as well as MENA International Film Festival held in the Netherlands.
The feature-length documentary film “Dreams’ Gate” directed by Negin Ahmadi and produced by Elaheh Nobakht, will have its second international screening in the competition category of “Feature-Length Documentaries” at the 6th round of Beirut International Women Film Festival.
Following its trend of global screenings, “Dreams’ Gate” is slated to have the third international run at the 19th edition of Kosmorama International Film Festival that is held in Trondheim, Norway.
The 6th edition of Beirut International Women Film Festival is presided over by Sam Lahoud, Beirut Film Society president, and will feature works of filmmakers coming from various countries under several categories, namely “Feature-Length Fiction Films”, “Feature-Length Documentaries”, “Documentary and Animated Shorts”, “Short Dance Films”, as well as specialized summits held from 5-11 March, 2023, in Beirut, Lebanon.
Photo: Mansour Jahani
For more details: https://beirutwomenfilmfestival.com/
French Film Festival UK
The 30th anniversary edition of the pioneering festival launches next week from 2 November to 15 December across the UK and at home in partnership with Curzon
Special guests include Charlotte Gainsbourg and Blandine Lenoir, in a festival focused on female talent, as well as veteran director Patrice Leconte
Screening across the nations, the event is the only francophone film festival in the UK and showcases a glittering, stimulating, and at times challenging array of films in cinemas and online via Curzon’s streaming platform, Curzon at Home.
Beginning in 1992 in Glasgow and Edinburgh, the Festival has grown exponentially in scope and stature, retaining its passion for exciting new cinematic voices.
This year’s Opening Gala is director Eric Gravel’s propulsive new drama Full Time(À Plein Temps) starring actor Laure Calamy (Call My Agent) who plays young mother Julie, battling a national transit strike to get to a potentially life-changing job interview. Eric Gravel will introduce the film in London ahead of its wider release through Parkland in February 2023.
Also attending the Festival is Charlotte Gainsbourg who will introduce, and take part in a Q&A at the screening of Mikhaël Hers’s stunning drama The Passengers of the Night (Les Passagers de la nuit). Charlotte’s documentary Jane by Charlotte, an intimate portrait of her mother Jane Birkin, will also be shown as part of the Festival.
In honour of acting royalty Jean Louis Trintignant, who passed away in June, there will be a Tribute screening of Claude Lelouche’s The Best Years of a Life(Les Plus Belles Années d’une Vie).
There will be special screenings of Final Cut (Coupez), which opened the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year. Filmmaker Patrice Leconte will present the UK premiere of Maigret starring Gérard Depardieu as novelist George Simenon’s iconic detective in Edinburgh and London. Filmmaker Blandine Lenoir will also present her feminist drama Angry Annie.
Belgian directors Yves Hint and Jean Libon’s will introduce their whodunit mockumentary A Fistful of Fries (Poulet Frites).
The burgeoning Festival’s Schools and Learning programmes which attracted a total of 75 schools and reached over 5000 students in 2021, is set to break records this year. The programme involves screenings in cinemas and free shows in the classroom.
The Femmes First strand shines a spotlight on a century of French and francophone women filmmakers, and films focused around contemporary women’s issues.. The strand includes short films by pioneer Alice Guy-Blaché, widely considered the first narrative filmmaker back in the 1890s. Charlotte Gainsbourgturns the camera on her mother Jane Birkin in Jane by Charlotte – an intimate portrait. Also featured two winners from the Cannes 2022: Rodeo by Lola Quivoron and Moroccan director Maryam Touzani’s The Blue Caftan.
Panorama features new and recent works by acclaimed filmmakers,including François Ozon, Arnaud Desplechin, Fred Cavayé, Quentin Dupieux andJean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne.
Among the Classics titles is Children of Paradise acclaimed “the greatest French film of all time”. Harking back to the Festival’s origins, Isabelle Huppert stars as Madame Bovary shown at the first Festival in 1992.
Extras showcases recent films audiences may have missed. Discovery celebrates first and second-time directors. More new talents feature in the Shorts programme.
The following new and recent titles will also be available to stream via Curzon at Home:
Paris 13th District (Dir. Jacques Audiard)
Casablanca Beats (Dir. Nabil Ayouch)
Between Two Worlds (Dir. Emmanuel Carrère)
Everything Went Fine (Dir. François Ozon)
Both Sides of the Blade (Dir. Éric Gautier)
Richard Mowe, co-founder and director: “For three decades the French Film Festival UK has been on a journey to explore the richness and diversity of Francophone cinema and to expand cultural horizons. Post-Brexit the event’s sense of purpose in bringing together our French-speaking neighbours from Europe and beyond has become even more acute and essential. The organisers pay tribute to our audiences, sponsors and funders as well as passionate and committed individuals, who every year ensure the festival comes to vibrant life, not only in November and December but also influencing film events throughout the year. Vive le cinéma!”
Allan Hunter, a former co-founder of the French Film Festival UK has said:
“The first French Film Festival UK was held in 1992 in Glasgow and Edinburgh as a Festival without barriers showcasing commercial success and arthouse promise, big titles and fresh discoveries. Focusing on short films and education work a younger generation was encouraged to broaden their horizons and try something different. The core values of the Festival remain the same now – a grand and glorious celebration of French and francophone cinema in all its rich variety and guises. Here’s to the next 30 years.”
39th Oscar-Qualified Tehran International Short Film Festival to be Held in Iran
The 39th edition of Tehran International Short Film Festival will be held as a preliminary event for the Academy Awards, as well as an Oscar-qualified festival, screening 60 short films by filmmakers from 35 countries all around the world, and the film receiving the Grand Prix in the international category will be eligible for Oscar consideration.
The 39th edition of Tehran International Short Film Festival, presided over by Mehdi Azarpendar, is held by the Iranian Youth Cinema Society, heralding the motto of “Variety in Genre” and will focus on the subject of genre, to be held in two categories of national and international competition. With in-person attendance, the festival is set to screen more than 60 short films in categories of fiction, documentary, animation, and experimental, in several competition sections; domestic and international, with filmmakers from 35 countries such as the US, France, Chile, Argentina, Japan, Germany, Austria, China, England, Italy, Poland, Lebanon, Canada, Kyrgyzstan, India, Spain, Finland, Switzerland, Denmark, Australia, Thailand, Croatia, Hungary, the Philippines, Lithuania, Romania, Pakistan, Indonesia, Morocco, Armenia, Luxemburg, Iraq, Turkey, and Iran. The jury members come from the following countries: Portugal, Turkey, Lithuania, Romania, and Iran. The international cinema instructors’ summit is held from October 19-24, 2022, in Mellat cinematic complex of Tehran.
Tehran International Film Festival is one of the most significant and prestigious short film festivals in the world, and it is an Oscar-qualified event, with good standing among global short filmmakers. This year, 5042 films from 131 countries have been submitted to this festival.
This cinematic event is among the 63 Oscar-qualified events in the world, one of the 9 international festivals in Asia, and one of the two Oscar-qualified events in the Middle East.
In the press conference held on Sunday 16 October 2022, in Bagh-e Ziba, Mehdi Azarpendar, the president of the 39th round of Tehran International Short Film Festival, stated, “Today’s festival is the most international cinematic event in Iran, and requires lots of prior planning. Last year, it was held from October 19-24, and since it was included in the Oscar-qualified festivals’ calendar, we felt that this international event should have a fixed date.”
He also added, “The total number of submitted films in the international category of the 39th Tehran Film Festival is 5042 films, 2925 of which belong to the genre of fiction, 689 animations, 804 documentaries, and 594 experimental films from 131 countries attending the international section of the 39th edition. In addition, France with 572 films, Spain with 401, India with 231, and the US with 221 works are the countries with the highest submitted works to this event. The next on the list is Brazil with 213 films, Germany with 191, Italy with 188, Russia with 162, Turkey with 149, Canada with 101, and Mexico with 86 films submitted.”
The festival president continued his remarks on the competition section of “National Competitions”, saying, “This section of the festival comprises 99 films including 47 fictions, 14 documentaries, 13 experimental movies, and 25 animations by Iranian filmmakers all across the country.”
Aiming for human and communal values, the category of “International Competitions” in this festival includes films in different sections of fiction, documentary, animation, and experimentals made outside Iran. The works submitted to this category must have been produced before 2021, with no prior screenings in other festivals of Iran.
The objectives of this festival comprise the following: identifying and introducing new talents in cinema, enhancing the position of short films as an independent and intellectual movement in Iranian cinema, updating the cinematic knowledge of filmmakers regarding the field of short films, strengthening the cycle of short film distribution via the provision of domestic and global marketing prerequisites, and the expansion and attraction of short film audiences.
The “20-39” specialized summits are attended by notable international and domestic instructors and students and enthusiasts of the craft, focusing on issues like creativity in work, lighting and cinematography, empiricism in work, interviewing the acting coach, screenplay, genre in short films, genre, form, style, similarities and differences, preparation and production, evaluation of short film genre samples, sound, visual effects, and production design.
Holding the “Literature and Cinema” fair is another agenda of this cinematic event, consisting of specialized cinematic books and the latest releases from the Iranian Youth Cinema Society. These publications include translations and compilations in fields as varied as production management in cinema, recommended stories for short film adaptation, debut filmmakers’ documentation, realism in fiction, genre-related articles, photography, music, experimental cinema, etc.
Unveiling the Cinema Graduates Center of the Iranian Youth Cinema Society and holding the first summit for them are other programs of the 39th round.
Tehran International Film Festival is held annually by the Iranian Youth Cinema Society which is the biggest filmmaking society in Iran, having 58 educational and filmmaking offices all across the country, besides being one of the largest filmmaking schools in the world when it comes to the number of works produced. Holding seven-month filmmaking courses, single-subject short-term courses, and Tehran International Short Film Festival as the most important short film event in the Middle East are among the activities of this society.
Great Iranian filmmakers have been introduced to the world via Tehran International Short Film Festival, including figures such as Asghar Farhadi, Bahman Ghobadi, Mehrdad Oskouei, Shahram Mokri, Reza Mirkarimi, Majid Barzegar, Saeed Roustayi, Mohsen Amiryoussefi, Ida Panahandeh, Arsalan Amiri, Arian Vazirdaftari, as well as other well-known Iranian filmmakers.
For more information: www.tisff.ir/en/