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The Shanghai International Film Festival kicked off with former heavyweight boxing champ Mike Tyson squaring off with Hong Kong martial arts superstar Donnie Yen on the red carpet on Saturday evening local time.
Tyson was in Shanghai to promote Ip Man 3, the third film in the phenomenally successful kung fu franchise, his appearance in which was announced at the Hong Kong Filmart.
The SIFF red carpet saw other big names from Hollywood including DreamWorks Animation chief Jeffrey Katzenberg and Gone Girl star Rosamund Pike. Local superstar Fan Bingbing drew most of the attention with her stunning Stephane Rolland dress.
At the opening ceremony, Shanghai mayor Yang Xiong said: “The 18th film festival will focus on cultivating new talents. We will give these new talents a bigger platform, strengthen our support for young filmmakers and aim to screen original works.”
Fu Wenxia, general manager of SIFF, echoed the notion that this year’s event would offer young, talented filmmakers even more opportunities to fulfill their dreams in film through the Asian New Talent Award and film venture support. “In the past, the Shanghai International Film Festival, as the first international platform for films to enter China, has contributed to narrowing the gap between Chinese audiences and international films,” she said.
Fu added: “Now SIFF, which focuses on international cultural exchange, has further expanded its scope. The festival aims to help films from Shanghai and China enter the global stage through SIFF’s international platform.”
There are an increasing number of film festivals, but Fu believes that SIFF is not competing with the Beijing International Film Festival, or other events. “February is Berlin’s moment, April is Beijing’s moment, May is Cannes’ moment, and June belongs to Shanghai,” said Fu, who is pleased that Southpaw and Love in the 1980s are making their global premieres.
Fu also promised new levels of action: “This year, the Jackie Chan Action Movie Week is a new initiative focused on the achievements of global action filmmakers, honoring the stuntman’s extraordinary performances,” she said.
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