2007 Shanghai Film Festival

Latest news from the 10th annual event

Festival reviews

SHANGHAI -- "Tokyo Tower: Mom, Me & Sometimes Dad" directed by Joji Matsuoka, the Japanese mother/son weepie that packed theaters and boosted tissue sales, finds a less tearful counterpart in "Bizan," directed by Isshin Inudou, a mother/daughter drama, also released domestically in May to coincide with Mother's Day. While the former panders both to maternal fantasies of the prodigal-son-made-good and male audiences with a mother complex, the latter handles subtle female emotions with elegant poise and heart-breaking tenderness. Read full review

"Teeth of Love" (Ai Qin De Ya Chi)
SHANGHAI -- "Teeth of Love" opens and ends with scenes on the dentist's chair that could reawaken nightmares for the hero of "The Marathon Man." A dental check-up reveals a woman's high pain tolerance, and triggers memories of three love affairs that left painful scars, but didn't stop her asking for more. With the advent of reform in 1980s China came a boom in films adapted from "scar literature" (shanghen wenxue), humanistic works that revealed the suffering and repression endured during the Cultural Revolution. "Teeth of Love" takes the genre's motif of pain to its illogical extreme. One of the biggest curveballs among Chinese films to hit the Shanghai International Film Festival, this film is too psychologically twisted to be commercially viable, and too aesthetically sloppy to be considered an art film. Read full review

June 24

Shanghai Film Fest high and dry
SHANGHAI -- A screening of "Flight of the Red Balloon" brought the 10th Shanghai International Film Festival to a gentle landing following the closing Jin Jue awards ceremony at Shanghai's Grand Theater with some of the film's Asian stars making a show of support for their film. The film, written and directed by Hsiao-hsien Hou, has been characterized as an homage to the 1956 Albert Lamorisse classic "The Red Balloon." As a sign that the SIFF, held in China's most cosmopolitan city, is trying to meet its aspiration to become a truly world-class festival, the closing ceremony was a well organized and well attended event. There was a host of big name Asian stars including Jackie Chan ("Forbidden Kingdom"), Gong Li ("Curse of the Golden Flower"), Aaron Kwok ("After This Our Exile") and director Hou. MORE

June 21

Bursztejn doing third pic with Wang
SHANGHAI -- Producer Sylvain Bursztejn is teaming with Wang Chao for the director's third film, he said Thursday at the 10th annual Shanghai International Film Festival. Their last collaboration, "Luxury Car," made a splash at the Festival de Cannes in 2006, taking Un Certain Regard prize. The new film, "Starting Over," is a French-Chinese co-production made in cooperation with Zhejiang Golden Globe Picture Co. Ltd., and will be helmed by Chen Jinhai, Bursztejn said in an interview. The contemporary feature will be filmed in Hangzhou, the capital of eastern China's Zhejiang Province, and is scheduled to film for 50 days beginning Sept. 1. MORE

June 20

Shanghai pitch session timely
SHANGHAI -- Eight fledgling Chinese filmmakers got a crash course in the pitch from top American film educators this week before testing their new sales skills in meetings with potential investors from around the world. The three-day China Film Pitch & Catch at the 10th annual Shanghai International Film Festival comes as the country's historically state-controlled film industry is enjoying an influx of private investors eager to reap returns from the world's largest potential movie market. The brainchild of Cindy Lin of Beijing Infotainment, Pitch & Catch brings to Shanghai the husband and wife team of Elizabeth Daley, dean of USC's School of Cinematic Arts, and former American Film Institute co-director James Hindman. MORE

Panel: Obstacles, potential in Chinese market
SHANGHAI -- Filmmakers from around the world are eager to tap into the vast potential of China's entertainment market, but many hurdles are still barring the way, panelists said Wednesday at a Shanghai International Film Festival session. The good news is that the number of screens, people who can afford tickets and boxoffice revenue are all rapidly increasing, European Producers Club president Jean Cazes said. China is adding 300-400 screens annually, and boxoffice revenue has climbed from $197 million in 2004 to about $340 million in 2006. MORE

June 19

China, Japan move toward prod'n pact
SHANGHAI -- Taking a step closer to a film co-production treaty, which is expected to take at least another two years, China and Japan are set to sign a memorandum of understanding for cinematic cooperation Friday. Zhan Xun of the China Film Co-production Corp. and Hideyuki Takai, president of overseas promotion body UniJapan and film production giant Toho, plan to sign the seven-point agreement at the 10th annual Shanghai International Film Festival, UniJapan deputy director Takashi Nishimura said in an interview this week. MORE

June 18

Shanghai market called work-in-progress
SHANGHAI -- Mainland China's first film market got off to a slow start Monday with only one potential sale, but guests who turned out en masse for the event held in conjunction with the Shanghai International Film Festival said they viewed it as a work-in-progress. Planned for a year by state-run China Film Group Corp., the film market was designed to showcase Chinese films to the world -- but few buyers were among those present. "We're busy, but there's no business. Not yet," said Zhou Tiedong, president of CFGC's China Film Promotion International. The market is set to close Wednesday. MORE

Marketing, tech talk highlight Shanghai panel
SHANGHAI -- The 10th annual Shanghai International Film Festival seminar "Increasing Film Market Value" drew a crowd of mostly Chinese guests Monday for a discussion of the latest in film business 101, Hollywood-in-China style. The panel discussion, subtitled "Revolution of Marketing and Distribution," featured such speakers as American Film Institute executive consultant James Hindman and L'Oreal China deputy president Lan ZhenZhen. MORE

June 17

Fest directors talk shop at Shanghai
SHANGHAI -- The directors of the world's top film festivals gathered together with a few new peers in China's commercial capital for the first time Sunday to offer varied perspectives to about 300 guests of the 10th Shanghai International Film Festival. Geoffrey Gilmore, director of the Sundance Film Festival, cautioned mainland China's premiere cinema event against aspirations to be recognized as a class-"A" event. "It's not about stars," said Gilmore. "Sundance Film Festival has no red carpet events." MORE

Shanghai hands out TV honors
SHANGHAI -- The top prize for television in China, the world's biggest TV market in terms of viewers, was warded late Friday to the German-produced WWII drama "March of Millions" at the 13th Shanghai Television Festival. The STVF's Magnolia award for best TV film went to "March" producers at teamWorx Television and Film GmbH. The fest's Jury Grand Prix went to "After Thomas," a drama from U.K.–based Hartswood Films about raising an autistic child. Chosen from more than 60 entries, winners were feted at the Oriental Arts Center in Pudong, the new business district of China's biggest city and commercial capital. MORE

Feng: Glamour key to fest success
SHANGHAI -- Feng Xiaogang, director of the upcoming Chinese civil war picture "The Assembly," had a few choice words on Sunday for his Shanghai compatriots about how to organize a film festival. "There are two things missing," Feng said from the sidelines of the 10th Shanghai International Film Festival where he's promoting "The Assembly" before its December 21 premiere. "The festival lacks an active film market," Feng said -- it's overloaded with producers and hosts few distributors -- "and it needs international media attention." His proposed solution for both? More glamour. MORE

June 16

Shanghai Film Festival opens doors to China
SHANGHAI -- Suspense started the Shanghai International Film Festival Saturday morning as no opening film was named in the catalog and market booths costing $800 and up remained empty. By evening, however, the 10th annual festival -- separated from the Shanghai Television Festival for the first time -- began to show signs of the life organizers hope someday will re-bill China's commercial capital as its movie capital for the first time since the 1930s. MORE

Chan headlines anti-piracy campaign
SHANGHAI -- Holding out a firm hand, Hong Kong action star Jackie Chan stares out of an anti-piracy poster for China that was unveiled Saturday at the 10th Shanghai International Film Festival. The posters featuring the "Rush Hour II" star and the message, "Save the movies, say no to piracy!" were designed to draw attention to a problem rampant here and are destined for buses, Internet cafes, shopping malls, mobile phone outlets and universities throughout China. A campaign to distribute 40,000 anti-piracy posters will be launched by the China Film Copyright Protection Association and festival organizers and was was announced by the The Motion Picture Association. MORE

Festival preview

Shanghai Film Festival reinvents itself as gateway event
SHANGHAI -- Filmmakers around the world see the untapped potential of the Chinese film market as a tantalizing tease. With 247 million people, or only 19% of the population, currently able to afford tickets to a modern movie theater, the rest of the country's 1.3 billion people represent something of a holy grail to filmmakers hoping to take full advantage of China's increased interaction with the rest of the world. But an opaque import-approval process and strict restrictions on the number of foreign films that may share in Chinese ticket sales -- 20 each year -- leave many international producers feeling like they're on the outside looking in. MORE

Shanghai Film Festival debuts new awards
While most major international film events hand out awards, organizers of the 10th Shanghai International Film Festival have taken steps they hope will help separate their honors from the rest of the pack. In addition to upping the grand prize for the Asian New Talent Award to $40,000 and to bringing on Chen Kaige (pictured) one of China's leading filmmakers, to head the jury for the Jinjue Awards, organizers have added awards for Audience Choice and Media Choice. MORE

Shanghai unveils its inaugural Film Mart
After one year of planning, organizers of the 10th annual Shanghai International Film Festival are about to unveil a new venue they hope will impress guests from around the world. Designed to boost the profile of the Chinese film industry, Film Mart, running June 17-19, has been added to the SIFF program just as the fest splits off from the older Shanghai Television Festival for the first time. MORE

Shanghai's TV fest spotlights animation
SHANGHAI -- The Shanghai Television Festival opened Monday with a new focus on animation and two new award categories that organizers hope will draw greater international attention to the world's biggest potential TV market. The 13th annual SFTV will run through Friday at the Shanghai New International Expo Center in China's commercial capital; for the first time in 10 years, the event is separate from the Shanghai International Film Festival. MORE