Chinese film fests postponed as COVID-19 resurges

By Zhang Rui
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, August 6, 2021
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A film projector is seen at an outdoor film screening event during the 10th Beijing International Film Festival, 2020. [File photo courtesy of BJIFF]

Organizing committees of the 11th Beijing International Film Festival (BJIFF) and the 6th Jackie Chan International Action Film Week both announced that the two events will be postponed indefinitely due to a recent surge in COVID-19 cases.

As the pandemic's severity in China increases, BJIFF's organizing committee said in a statement released on Thursday that they decided to postpone the annual event. New dates will be announced as conditions improve, organizers said, adding they will keep a close eye on the pandemic's development. 

The film festival was originally scheduled for Aug. 14 to 21 including opening and closing ceremonies, forums, a film carnival, and special screenings. Prominent Chinese actress Gong Li will serve as jury president for the Tiantan Awards.

Likewise, organizers for the Jackie Chan International Action Film Week, which was supposed to be held from Aug. 6 to 8 in Datong, in north China's Shanxi province, also announced its postponement. 

The two events are among various expos, concerts, music festivals and other large gatherings to be delayed or canceled recently. China also rolled out a new slate of restrictions on travel, closed popular scenic attractions and canceled performances in cities that have medium- and high-risk areas.

Brought on by the Delta variant, China has been in the throes of its worst COVID-19 outbreak since the country largely brought the pandemic under control and normalized prevention efforts last year. On Wednesday morning, a total of 144 medium- and high-risk areas across 17 provinces were reported to have local cases.

China's film industry is already feeling the brunt of the new wave of infections, with cinemas ordered to close in some of the worst-hit provinces, including cities in Jiangsu, Henan, and Hunan provinces. Many theaters were relying on "The Battle at Lake Changjin," a war epic directed by Chen Kaige, Hark Tsui and Dante Lam, to improve the country's stagnating summer box office numbers, however, that prospect is rapidly diminishing. The movie's distributors announced on Thursday that they are postponing its release.

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