Shanghai Festival: Local Pitches Dominate Project Market Awards

 Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg via Getty Images

SHANGHAI – The Shanghai International Film Festival’s film market concluded on Thursday with all of its project market prizes going to mainland Chinese pitches.

Selected by a jury comprising of Chinese director-screenwriter Sun Zhou, Taiwanese actor-producer Lee Lieh and Hong Kong producer Philip Lee, the Most Creative Award went to Li Xiaofeng’s Scrape My Bone, a rite-of-passage drama revolving around two small-town young women.

The Most Promising Project to Invest was given to Gao Bo’s Fantasy Journey, which is to be about a middle-aged man hitting the road with his long-lost young daughter.

Both pitches were among the eight finalists (chosen from 224 submissions, according to organizers) in China Film Pitch and Catch (CFPC), a section dedicated to homegrown entries.

Two other CFPC offerings won “special attention” awards: Tian Yuan’s Forgot to Forget, a thriller about a series of murders which stem from long-obscured misdeeds committed by the victims in the past, and Luo Dong’s New York, New York, a family drama set among returning émigrés and outward-minded locals in 1990s Shanghai.

The other two “special recommendation” awardees, Lu Yitong’s Invisible Tatoo and Wang Yuelun’s Love, were among the 22 entries in the Co-production Pitch and Catch section, which included also offerings from South Korea, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Taiwan and the US.

While mostly pitches from young filmmakers, some of the prize-winning entries boast of successful and well-connected producers: the producer of Fantasy Journey, for example, is Chen Zhixi, one of the producers of the as-yet highest-grossing Chinese release that is Lost in Thailand; New York, New York, meanwhile, is backed by Kwan Siu-wai, a veteran Hong Kong movie executive and the sister of director-producer Stanley Kwan – with whom she worked on Vicki Zhao’s hit So Young.

Forgot to Forget’s Tian, meanwhile, has already been a well-known actor-singer-writer before her latest effort to diversify her career. Another indie figure whose shadow looms large is Zhang Yuan, who Is listed as executive producer of Scrape My Bone.

The two Pitch and Catch programs were part of the Shanghai festival’s film market, which ran from June 17 to 19. The nine-day festival, which began on June 15, would end on Sunday, with the winner of its annual Golden Goblet Award announced during its closing ceremony.

The jury this year was headed by Tom Hooper, who will be taking part in an on-stage discussion with Zhang Yuan in a master class on Friday morning.

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