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Shanghai remains a charming film capital

By Liu Wei  (China Daily)

09:15, June 19, 2012

There is no better place in China than Shanghai to play host to a grand film festival.

After all, the city is the birthplace of the country's first filmmakers and audiences in the early 20th century, thanks to its favorable position as an international port and its Western influences, including those from films. The city is also populated, wealthy and educated enough for the film industry to thrive.

Nearly all of China's major filmmakers lived in Shanghai during the 1920s-'40s. Shanghai alone boasted more than a quarter of China's audience during the period.

Masters, such as Zheng Junli, Fei Mu and Zhang Shichuan, found their audiences in the city and groomed the very first movie stars of China, such as Hu Die, Ruan Lingyu and Zhou Xuan.

A number of films made during that period in Shanghai have enduring charm among cinephiles, such as Crossroads and Street Angel.

Although Beijing, as the capital of China, has stolen some spotlight from Shanghai, the eastern metropolis is still the destination for Chinese filmgoers, not only because of its glorious filmmaking history but also because of its orderly organized festival every year.

The first Shanghai International Film Festival (SIFF) was launched in October 1993 and was held biennially until 2001. It is now an annual summer event and has gained international recognition. SIFF is one of the 14 competitive feature film festivals certified by the International Federation of Film Producers Associations (FIAPF) and the only one from the Chinese mainland.

Before Beijing launched its own film festival in 2011, the Shanghai festival was the foremost destination for filmmakers and traders who have interest in the Chinese market. But the SIFF maintains its charm through its professional organization, care for ordinary filmgoers, high-quality forums and A-list attendees, such as Ang Lee, Chen Kaige and Jean-Jacques Annaud.


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