Shanghai Film Festival: Record Number of Entries Unveiled, Strong Asian Focus


Russian director Andrey Zvyagintsev ('Leviathan') will head the jury for the festival's main prize, the Golden Goblet.

The 18th edition of the Shanghai International Film Festival has received a record 2,096 entries from 108 countries and regions, organizers said, and this year's event will have a strong Asian focus.

Among the films nominated for the Golden Goblet Award are Sunstroke, from Russian director Nikita Mikhalkov, Kang Je-kyu's Salut d'Amour, Cake by Daniel Barnz from the U.S. and Taiwan director Wang Tung's Where the Wind Settles.

The nominations also include Polish director Jacek Lusiński's Carte Blanche, The Duchess of Warsaw by France's Joseph Morder (France), Jameh Daran by Iran's Hamid Ghotbe, The Midwife by Antti Jokinen (Finland/Lithuania) and The Night Watchman, directed by Pierre Jolivet (France/Belgium).

Leviathan director Andrey Zvyagintsev will head the Golden Goblet Jury, which will include the Chinese director Cai Shangjun, the Chinese actress Hao Lei, Korean screenwriter Kim Hee-jai, French director and screenwriter Philippe Muyl, Hong Kong producer Nansun Shi and U.S. producer Ron Yerxa.

Zvyagintsev, whose most recent movie Leviathan won the best screenplay award at Cannes last year, a Golden Globe and an Oscar nomination, was chosen "on account of the acclaim Leviathan has received," SIFF said in a statement.

The festival is to be held from June 13 to 21, and Leviathan is among the films to be screened out of competition. Ticket sales will begin about one week ahead of the festival.

The red carpet event will welcome nearly 400 stars from home and abroad to the opening ceremony, including Gong Li, Zhang Ziyi, Fan Bingbing, Yao Chen, Jackie Chan, Aaron Kwok, Leon Lai, Liu Ye, and Eddie Peng.

British director Malcolm Clarke will serve as jury president for the Documentary Jury Panel and the animation jury will be headed by Ishu Patel.

The Asian New Talent Award jury will be headed by Korean director Kim Han-min, with Taiwan director Yee Chih-yen, French producer Nicolas Brigaud-Robert, Malaysian actress Sinje Lee and Chinese actor Huang Xuan.

15 films were nominated for the Asian New Talent Award, including a crop of wave-making Asian films, such as Teenage Babylon, End of Winter, River, Wolf Warrior and 13.

Among the highlights for local movie fans will be the opportunity to watch all six movies in the Star Wars saga on the big screen. This will mark the first screening of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back and Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi in China.

This year's festival will include 45 screening locations, up from last year’s 35, covering 17 districts in Shanghai with 1,200 film screens. Two special events, the Internet Film Carnival and Jackie Chan Action Movie Week, will also take place this year.

The movie will also have out-of-competition screenings for prize-winning movies that might otherwise not be shown in China because of quota rules, such as The Theory of Everything, Birdman, Whiplash and Boyhood.

The forum section will focus on topics ranging from Chinese film policy to co-productions.

In March, the e-commerce giant Alibaba, which is trying to boost its presence in the entertainment industry, said it would forge a three-year deal with the festival.

Alibaba's crowdfunding-like service Yulebao will become an officially designated interactive entertainment partner of the festival, and the group's Taobao Dianying will serve as SIFF's official ticketing platform.