2021 – N3: Place and Film Festivals

Between Mainstream and Independence: A Case Study on The One (Shan Yi) International Women’s Film Festival(山一国际女性电影节)
Rui YAO and Qingqing HUANG 

As the first women’s film festival in China approved by SAPPRFT(State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, The One(Shan Yi) International Women’s Film Festival has been undertaking the long-standing mission of both representing China and influencing the other women’s film festivals in Asia. This essay aims to explore how The One International Women’s Film Festival operate and develop between mainstream and independence. Starting off with the historical context of Chinese folk film festivals, this essay analyzes the festival planning, curation features, and transition of The One International Women’s Film Festival in SHE-ERA. Meanwhile, this essay analyzes its aesthetic value, industrial potential and unique path between mainstream and independence. Through the case study on The One International Women’s Film Festival, this paper further explore the Women’s Film Festival research paradigm in digital era.  

Chinese Film Festivals and the Circuit of Film Festivals In China: The case of the Ningbo Short Film Festivals
Panjia Zhou 

This research aims to evaluate the impact of Chinese film festivals and understand how stakeholders shape Chinese film festivals. So far, the research about Chinese film festivals mainly starts from the perspective of Western scholars, which lacks the understanding from Chinese scholar perspectives. This research would like to analyze the internal mechanism of Chinese film festivals under Chinese cultural and social context from the perspective of a Chinese scholar. Employing circuit of culture theory to film festival studies, I propose a new analytical model named “Circuit of film festivals” to study the linkages and interactions of six moments: representation, identity, production, consumption, regulation, and films. The research method uses the case study based on the Ningbo Short Film Festival. Interviews will be conducted in this research. I would argue that Chinese film festivals can help to build national and local images. Also, the dynamics in Chinese film festivals might be influenced by Chinese culture and political environment. 

Places and Themes that Create Discursive Spaces of Chinese-ness: The Politics of Sites of Production and Film Themes in Shanghai International Film Festival (SIFF) BRI Film Week
Gus Sifang An

As an annual event starting from 2018, BRI Film Week selects a set of films to show during the week and join the BRI film alliance. This paper is contextualized in the films during the BRI Film Week between 2018 and 2021. 

Due to the state control of SIFF and the political nature of BRI, the films in BRI Film week need to be analyzed for their political connotations. This paper is interested in observing and analyzing how political ideologies embedded in BRI interact with the sites of production and themes of films on BRI Film Week. To be more specific, how does the politics of the programming and themes of these films reflect on the political landscape within contemporary Chinese film industry and China as a whole? In other words, how are Chinese identities constructed and presented on SIFF BRI Film Week? In this paper, two primary questions will be discussed: 1) how politics is reflected in the sites of production of these films 2) How apolitical topics are political in these films. These two questions lead to the core research question: How are discursive spaces of Chinese-ness created through both the sites of production and selected themes? This discursive space refers to the representation and construction of Chinese-ness (Chinese identities/image) through various films during the week, especially through films from foreign countries.

The preliminary finding is that SIFF seems to be trying to avoid presenting political ideologies in China directly through Chinese films, but through the assemblage of sites and themes during the event as a whole. This pattern will be elaborated and further discussed in this paper through the analysis of SIFF programming as well as thematic and textual analysis of films to explore how Chinese-ness has been projected to the international society through SIFF.