Cannes Favorite Jia Zhangke to Unveil Online Video Platform in China (Exclusive)

Jia Zhangke H

"I would like for it to be a kind of United Nations for art house filmmakers," Jia tells THR in Cannes.

Chinese auteur and Cannes favorite Jia Zhangke is set to unveil a new online video platform in China. Named Jia Screen, the Beijing-based service will showcase art house short films from China and around the world.

"I would like for it to be a kind of United Nations for arthouse filmmakers, where people can share and discuss short films," Jia told The Hollywood Reporter in an interview Saturday in Cannes.

Jia is expected to unveil additional details and plans for the project during an event on Tuesday.

"What's really interesting on the internet in China is that there are lots of forums where there are really lively discussions and people talk passionately about the films they have seen," said the filmmaker. "It's quite precious and very interesting to see such feedback."

Widely regarded as one of the leaders of the "Sixth Generation" movement of Chinese cinema, Jia is a frequent competitor and attendee at Cannes. He won the festival's best screenplay award in 2013 with his gritty drama A Touch of Sin, and his 2015 film Mountains May Depart was selected to compete for the Palme d'Or.

Jia also is one of China's very few art house directors to achieve some measure of commercial success in the Chinese theatrical market. Mountains May Depart received a wide release in October in the country and grossed $5 million.  

In addition to announcing his new digital media venture, Jia is in Cannes this year as the official patron of the Fabrique des Cinémas du Monde program. Each year, the program selects 10 directors and producers from emerging countries to present their first or second film projects to veteran filmmaker mentors in Cannes.