Film event charts new direction for Chinese online movies

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The Third China Online Movie Week has concluded recently and will be shown online on major Chinese video streaming platforms iQiyi, Tencent Video and Youku on Wednesday night.

Under the theme of "New Images to the Future", the event convened industry workers, experts and scholars to share their takes on producing high-quality online movies that portray Chinese people's lives today and new imaginations in the new era.

Online movies widely refer to those screened on video platforms instead of big screens. The idea first came into being in China in 2014, with movies released on China's Netflix-like services iQiyi, Tencent Video and Youku.

For a long time, Chinese online movies were dominated by low-budget comedies, eye-catching zombie movies and fantasy dramas, until more realistic ones emerged in 2018. As critical voices rose with rapid market growth, filmmakers gathered at the first China Online Movie Week in 2019 to call for a shift from quantity to quality film production.

Statistics from the 2021 China Online Movie Industry Annual Report show that 476 new online movies were telecast on three major streaming platforms iQiyi, Tencent Video and Youku in 2021, and the total views of online movies have reached 10.7 billion on these platforms so far.

In response to the growth of online movies in recent years, Feng Shengyong, a director at the National Radio and Television Administration, said filmmakers should focus more on quality as well as utilizing new technologies to make better movies that reach wider audience.

As an important part of the annual event, the film week also presented awards, including screenwriters of the year, directors of the year, and films of the year. Ten directors won titles of "Directors of the Year", including director Lin Zhenzhao of sci-fi film Restart the Earth. Ten films were honored "Films of the Year", including crime film Infernal Storm.

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