In the midst of a film industry inundated by big-budget sequels, smaller movies have been attracting audiences with fresh and subtle storytelling techniques.
At the ongoing Beijing International Film Festival, low-budget films are drawing plaudits from audiences and industry insiders, as many believe these movies can also deliver blockbuster effects.
The festival opened with a showing of "A Separation," a low-budget Iranian film that has won acclaim from both Chinese and international audiences. Some have described the movie as "sincere" and "touching," as it uses a realistic approach to explore the depths of humanity.
The film, which touches on traditions, justice and male-female relationships in modern Iran, has been racking up awards at film festivals around the world since its release last year.
Chinese domestic low-budget films have also enjoyed success in recent years.
Since its release last November, "Love Is Not Blind," which tells the story of a woman struggling out of the shadow of a break up, saw domestic box office revenue top 100 million yuan (15.88 million U.S. dollars) in just four days.
Zhen Chaofan, vice president of Walt Disney Shanghai, believes that the film's success shows that the most important aspects of a movie are originality and the storyline -- aspects that don't have much to do with costs.
Analysts say the development of the low-budget film sector contributes to the well-being of the film industry as a whole, as it encourages filmmakers to work on storylines instead of blindly chasing dazzling special effects.
Zhang Xun, general manager of China Film Co-production Corporation, said a good movie is one that can tell a touching story, and producers should pay more attention to mid- and low-budget movies to promote the sustainable development of the industry.
Meanwhile, Zhen said the success of low-budget films proves that creativity is central to filmmaking, and filmmakers should explore different subjects and search for new elements in order to make their movies unique and original.
Experts have also said that the increasing popularity of low-budget films could also lower the industry's threshold, allowing more talent and creativity to flow into the sector.
Vince Fischer, the manager of a French talent agency, said during the festival that the growing popularity of low-budget films is leading more people to enter the film industry, which will make the market more colorful and competitive.