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Beijing works towards cinema city

By Wang Kaihao | China Daily | Updated: 2015-03-26 07:29

Beijing works towards cinema city

A scene from The Grand Budapest Hotel. About 200 films will be screened at mainland theaters for the first time during the festival. Photo provided to China Daily

The 5th Beijing International Film Festival is just around the corner, and its ambitious organizers are hoping it will become a flagship event in the world of Asian cinema.

French director Luc Besson, well known in China for his films Leon (1994) and The Fifth Element (1999), will lead a seven-member judging panel at the festival, which will be held from April 16 to 23.

"We selected international filmmakers for the judging panel for their diverse taste," says Luan Guozhi, deputy head of the film bureau under the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television. "Each panel member has great influence in their respective professional field and will give our film festival a broader horizon."

The other six judges are: Russian director Fedor Bondarchuk, whose film Stalingrad was Russia's entry for this year's Oscars for Best Foreign Language Film; Hong Kong director Peter Chan, whose recent films Dearest and American Dreams in China were widely acclaimed by Chinese filmgoers; veteran Hollywood producer Robert Kamen; South Korean director Ki-duk Kim, best known for his Silver Bear-winning romance 3-Iron; Brazilian director Fernando Meirelles, who won international fame with 2002's City of God; and Chinese actress Zhou Xun, who made her Hollywood debut starring in Cloud Atlas.

About 300 films from 50 countries and regions will be screened in more than 30 cinemas and colleges across the Chinese capital during the festival. Zhang Xiaoguang, chief of China Film Archive, says that about 200 films have never been publicly screened on the Chinese mainland, including major winners at this year's Academy Awards, Birdman and The Grand Budapest Hotel. Top award-winners from 2014's Venice and Cannes film festivals will also be screened.

Entries to the Tiantan (Temple of Heaven) Award, the top award offered at the festival, have reached 930. The names of the opening and closing films, as well as the 15 finalists of the main competition unit, have yet to be revealed.

"The festival will be a platform for Sino-foreign exchange of ideas for cinema," Zhang says. "Chinese films will borrow this platform to become better known in the overseas market, and foreign filmmakers who want to expand their business to China will also gain greater knowledge of this rising market."

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