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Han Hua: Film connects and solidifies the “Belt & Road”


By Han Hua    Source: CGTN    Published: 2018-6-13

Shanghai TV & Film Festival (SIFF) has opened at the heels of a successful SCO Summit, where “Shanghai Spirit” is re-enhanced by Chinese President Xi Jinping and state leaders who attended the summit.

Shanghai Spirit envisions mutual trust and mutual benefit, equality and consultation, respect for diversity of civilizations and pursuit of common development.

Hence it is no better occasion to show the culture exchange practices of “Shanghai Spirit”, also the cornerstone of Silk Road Consensus, in Shanghai, in the festival.

During the festival, a biographical drama--The Composer--will release its trailer and announce a global screening schedule towards the end of this year.

It is based on one of the most renowned musician in China, Mr. Xian Xinghai, who lived in Kazakhstan (then former Soviet Union) during the Great Patriotic War and composed many classical pieces.

There is an avenue named after him in the country’s largest city Almaty. President Xi Jinping shared the composer’s adventurous Kazak story with an audience at Nazarbayev University on Sept. 7, 2013, where and when the Belt and Road Initiative was first proposed to the world.

This movie is co-produced by China and Kazakhstan, enlisting the latter one of 20 countries along Belt & Road of co-production partners, following the newly added Indonesia, Russia, Brazil, Luxembourg, Denmark and Greece in 2017, in addition to the traditional co-production projects between China and Hollywood.

In the wake of these efforts, SIFF is holding a "Belt and Road Week" to echo the efforts and enhance cooperation in film among countries participating in the Belt and Road Initiative, and organizers from about 30 film festivals are expected to establish an alliance.

It will include the Cairo International Film Festival, the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival, and the Malaysia International Film Festival, etc.

So what shall the industry players expect from the grand platform SIFF is establishing?

First and foremost, it is not just about union under one “Belt & Road” flag.

At the end of the day, it is the story, like the story of Composer Xian Xinghai, which attracts the audience and succeeds in the world market.

The ancient Silk Road has been the trade and cultural sharing bridge for thousands of years, leading to today’s BRI’s expansion and integration of culture, ideas and philosophy, both of which comprise the vast pool of decent stories and are expected to become the inspirations for the industry.

This foundation, combined with a growing skillset that a Chinese film is being presented, ensures the sustainability of co-productions.

Secondly, China is growing to be the largest film market in the world, and given the current policy towards film production, release and scheduling, co-productions are exempted from foreign film`s quota limit, thus becoming a channel for foreign filmmakers to make forays into the Chinese market.

Industry players are expected to utilize the policies with more creative models.

Thirdly, it is a two way street. Not only the co-productions, but also Chinese domestic movies can be more aggressive by screening along belt and road countries, to be an integral part of sharing Chinese stories and enjoy others.

SIFF is not alone in connecting Belt & Road. The UNESCO last year honored Qingdao, the host city of SCO, as a City of Film, the first Chinese city to receive this honorary title.

In return, a total of 30 new films are screened last week during the SCO Summit, in addition to over 200 movies already shot in Qingdao on an annual basis.

Han Hua is a fellow at Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China.

Key Words: Shanghai Spirit   Belt and Road   film   Han Hua  

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