Russian film wins top SIFF award

Festival continues struggle for identity

Complete Shanghai film fest coverage

SHANGHAI -- The 11th Shanghai International Film Festival closed Sunday night, with Russian Vladimir Kott's "Mukha" taking the top prize, the Jin Jue, or Golden Goblet.

Between 200,000 and 250,000 people attended screenings during the nine days of this year's festival, matching last year's attendance figures, SIFF deputy director Shen Yang told The Hollywood Reporter. Total receipts for the festival have not yet been released, but tickets were priced at between 40 yuan ($6) and 50 yuan ($7).

On Saturday night, "Winds of September" by Taiwan's Tom Shu-Yu Lin won the best film in the New Asian Talent section, with Korea's Hyeon-gi Hong winning best director for "Thirsty, Thirsty."

However, except for the latest DreamWorks Animation film "Kung Fu Panda" and Oscar winners "No Country for Old Men" and "There Will Be Blood," few big international films screened this year, though foreign films dominated the festival's awards.

"Panda" bowed nationwide Friday, but neither "Country" nor "Blood" was released domestically in China.

Cindy Lin, managing director at Beijing-based Infotainment China, said the international film trading market at SIFF is still relatively quiet, compared to other top-level international film festivals.

"SIFF still hasn't established its own personality," Lin said.

Meanwhile, SIFF did pay off for 13 filmmakers, most from China, who got funding commitments for projects they presented to investors at the SIFF China Film Pitch & Catch forum.

Forty film projects sought funding, SIFF organizers told THR.

However, only Beijing-based Infotainment China has a signed contract for its 4 million yuan ($570,000) investment from Beijing-based Bloom International Media Co., Ltd. Their project, the infidelity drama "Start Over," received a 3.5 million yuan ($500,000) investment from France's TF1 Group at Cannes in May.

Other projects that found confirmed investment -- but with no signed contracts yet -- include "Peking Duck," a production of Beijing-based New Tianshan Film Group, directed by Ju Anqi, which received 4 million yuan ($570,000) in funding from Beijing-based Ciwen Pictures, said SIFF's Shen Yang.

Also finding investors are "Flash Flash" by Chinese director Zhu Wen, "Once Upon a Time in Tibet" by Chinese director Dai Wei and "Brothers" by Chinese director Jin Chen. Shen declined to name the other funded projects, or to give the names of the investors.

The deals will be officially signed after the close of the film festival, she said.

This year's SIFF had significantly less foreign participation in the "Pitch and Catch." Only 30% of investors came from overseas. Last year, by comparison, 60% of investors were foreign. The number of potential investors -- 40 -- remained the same as last year, Shen said.

In other deals announced at SIFF this year, Shanghai Film Group signed an agreement with Beijing-based online portal to promote its movies online. The first project will be "Ku Zhu Lin," directed by Yang Shupeng, which won the top award at the China Film Pitch and Catch program at last year's SIFF.

A complete list of Jin Jue winners follows:

Best feature film
"Mukha" by Vladimir Kott (Russia)

Jury Grand Prix
"Old Fish" by Gao Qunshu (China)

Best director
Maris Martinsons, "Loss" (Lithuania)

Best actor
Ma Guowei, "Old Fish" (China)

Best actress
Emilia Vasaryova, "Vaclav" (Czech Republic)

Best screenplay
Marek Epstein, "Vaclav" (Czech Republic)

Best cinematography
Florian Schilling, "My Mother's Tears" (Germany)

Best music
Andrius Mamontovas, "Loss" (Lithuania)