Zhang Yimou envisions Golden Panda Awards as platform for global exchange

By Zhang Rui
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China.org.cn, September 19, 2023
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Prominent Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yimou said he hopes the Golden Panda Awards will foster global communication in culture and the arts, all while pioneering the future of filmmaking.

A photo of Zhang Yimou. [Photo courtesy of the Organizing Committee of the Golden Panda Awards]

Organized by the China Federation of Literary and Art Circles and the Sichuan provincial government, the newly established Golden Panda Awards aim to become an international cultural event. They seek to recognize outstanding films and TV works, promote cultural exchanges, and create a global community with a shared future, with film as the medium and the image of panda as a symbol of cultural significance.

Director Zhang Yimou, who serves as this year's jury president for the Golden Panda Awards, believes that exceptional productions surpass boundaries, fostering unity among people of all backgrounds and cultures. He remarked, quality works consistently serve as a bridge, connecting global audiences who cherish art and draw inspiration from enlightening creations.

Zhang posed thought-provoking questions about balancing technological precision and artistic depth, aligning development with content innovation, confronting new challenges, seizing fresh opportunities, and nurturing talent deeply rooted in cultural foundations. With decades of experience in the industry, he has witnessed substantial changes in the film and TV sector, particularly as emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and 5G communication reshape the industry.

Guests at the Golden Panda Awards take photos of giant pandas at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in Chengdu, Sichuan province, Sept. 19, 2023. [Photo/China.org.cn]

"I believe the inaugural Golden Panda Award will enlighten us and help us find answers," Zhang Yimou said, looking forward to combined efforts to promote sustained and stable cultural exchanges worldwide. In his opinion, while artists may hail from different countries, artworks shouldn't be confined by national boundaries, races, or geography. He also thought that the Golden Panda Award would transcend conceptual and linguistic barriers, fostering cultural recognition and understanding, and that only those outstanding works that encapsulate immense spiritual strength and noble pursuits can garner the most extensive resonance and empathy.

He expressed the hope that the Golden Panda Awards would be able to help boost mutual understanding, inclusiveness, and mutual learning, making the world more diverse and full of vitality.

As a prelude to the inaugural Golden Panda Awards, the organizers arranged a visit for a group of guests, which included American film producer Andre Morgan and Swiss cinematographer Silvan Hillmann, to the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding on Tuesday. There, they had the opportunity to observe real giant pandas and immerse themselves in the local cultural atmosphere of Sichuan.

The first Golden Panda Awards, themed "Brilliant Civilization, Resplendent Vision," will present 25 awards in four categories: Film, TV dramas, documentaries, and animation. Key highlights of the two-day event include the Golden Panda Night, the prestigious Golden Panda International Cultural Forum, and the Golden Panda Awards Ceremony. Notable attendees include Jackie Chan, director Wuershan, actors Lei Jiayin and Zhang Songwen, actress Yan Bingyan, filmmaker Rob Minkoff, composer Nathan Wang, documentary filmmaker Malcolm Clarke, and pianist Lang Lang.

Dancers, alongside a giant panda performer, entertain guests at the Hi Panda Tour, an event preceding the inaugural Golden Panda Awards in Chengdu, Sichuan province, on Sept. 19, 2023. [Photo courtesy of the Organizing Committee of the Golden Panda Awards]

The winners will be announced at an awards gala on Wednesday night. Notable contenders include China's "The Wandering Earth II," "The Shadowless Tower," and TV dramas "A Lifelong Journey" and "Minning Town," as well as America's "Jojo Rabbit," India's "Last Film Show," Russia's "Persian Lessons," and foreign TV dramas like America's "1923 Season 1," Italy's "My Brilliant Friend Season 3," and Japan's "Naoki Hanzawa II." These selections were selected from 7,024 submissions from 104 countries and regions, with 4,927 being international entries, comprising 70% of the total. Under the guidance of Zhang Yimou, the film section was overseen by filmmaker Stanley Tong, the TV drama section by director Zheng Xiaolong, the documentary section by Oscar-winner Malcolm Clarke, and the animation segment by Swiss animation film director Georges Schwizgebel.

The Golden Panda Awards, scheduled to occur biennially, will have their permanent home in Sichuan.

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