The upcoming 12th Beijing International Film Festival (BJIFF) has received 1,450 domestic and foreign films vying for its Tiantan Award, a 63 percent increase from last year, organizers said at a press conference held on July 28.

Organizers present highlights and plans for the upcoming 12th Beijing International Film Festival (BJIFF) at a press conference held in Beijing on July 28, 2022. [Photo courtesy of BJIFF]

The abundant entries are rich in genres and themes from all over the world, including 1,193 foreign films from 88 countries and regions. After selection, 16 films were finally shortlisted for the prize race.

The shortlisted films are: “In Search of Lost Time” (China), “Anatolian Leopard” (Turkey/Poland/Germany/Denmark), “Call Jane” (America), “Fast & Feel Love” (Thailand), “Full Time” (France), “Jai Bhim” (India), “Kong & Jigme” (China), “Off the Stage” (China), “Sardar Udham” (India), “Song of Spring” (China), ” A blind man who didn’t want to see ‘Titanic'” (Finland), “The Exam” (Germany/Iraq/Qatar), “The Family” (France), “The Good Boss” (Spain), “Unrest” (Switzerland) and “Utama” (Bolivia/Uruguay/France).

The 12th BJIFF invites a number of Chinese and foreign filmmakers to serve on the jury. Chaired by veteran Chinese actor Li Xuejian, the Tiantan Prize international jury includes six other members this year: Chinese director Frant Gwo, British director Malcolm Clarke, Argentinian director Lucrecia Martel, Italian director Michelangelo Frammartino, actress Chinese Qin Hailu and Chinese director and actor Wu Jing.

Note the participation of Lucrecia Martel, who chaired the international jury of the 76th Venice International Film Festival in 2019, and who is celebrating her debut at an Asian film festival this year at BJIFF. Meanwhile, Michelangelo Frammartino has just been named president of the jury for the Luigi De Laurentiis Award Lion of the Future section of the Venice International Film Festival.

The organizers announced during the press conference that this edition of the BJIFF will have the theme “United We Advanced”. The film festival will consist of nine main sections, including the Tiantan Prize, the opening ceremony and the red carpet, “Beijing Film Panorama” screenings of various notable films, thematic forums where directors will discuss and share their ideas, the market Beijing Film Festival, where the film companies will sign agreements, the Film Carnival where people can enjoy film cultural activities, the Beijing College Student Film Festival, the Closing and Award Ceremony, and ” Film+,” which highlights cross-cutting elements of innovation in film to facilitate greater cinematic engagement across diverse industries and personnel. Additionally, the festival will once again work with streaming platform iQIYI to hold a two-week “Online BJIFF” event to stream over 100 films online.

Online marketplace BJIFF will debut in Baidu’s “Xirang” metaverse space to build the world’s first “metaverse film palace,” according to the festival’s official website. In addition, the Project Pitches section attracted attention and registered a record number of participants. After three rounds, 853 films have so far been presented to the jury members, including Derek Yee, Zhang Yuqi, Liang Lin and Zhu Weijie. In the BJIFF TALENTS category, more than 300 young directors signed up to create five sci-fi short films under the theme “Beijing · Future”.

There will be more than 100 classic films screened in local cinemas during the highly anticipated Beijing Film Panorama section from August 12 to 21. Highlights include several films by Theodoros Angelopoulos, considered a Greek master, and the highly acclaimed new Japanese animated feature “Inu-Oh” (2022). The selection also includes the latest digitally restored versions of classic works such as the franchise “Antoine Doinel” by François Truffaut, “The Last Waltz” by Martin Scorsese and “The Moon Has Rise” by Kinuyo Tanaka. There will be a special screening of Hong Kong films as well as a “Beach Screening” event to be held on the French Riviera in Qinhuangdao, Hebei Province.

This year also marks the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to the motherland. At the opening ceremony, BJIFF and the Hong Kong International Film Festival (HKIFF) will announce a cooperation agreement to provide more training and exchange opportunities for young filmmakers from both cities.

Nearly 100 groups of guests and celebrities will appear on the red carpet and at the opening ceremony near the scenery of Yanqi Lake, organizers noted, while workshops and masterclasses by jury members Li Xuejian and Malcolm Clarke will also take place.

The 12th BJIFF, guided by the China Film Administration, hosted by China Media Group and the Beijing Municipal People’s Government, and organized by the Beijing Municipal Film Administration, Municipal Bureau of Radio and Beijing Television, Beijing Radio and Television Station, Huairou District People’s Government of Beijing Municipality and Beijing Enterprises Group Company Limited, will be held in Beijing from August 13 to 20, 2022.