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Shanghai Film Festival Aims for More Global Clout
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China's only international film festival is working to attract more participants from the world film industry and to create a market-friendly environment for joint projects between Chinese and foreign filmmakers, the festival organizers said here on Thursday.

Kicking off the Shanghai International Film Festival (SIFF)'s international promotion efforts in Beverly Hills, officials said the festival's affiliated Film Mart will be expanded later this year to cater for more international buyers, film sales companies and filmmakers. "With the sound development of Chinese economy, Chinese film industry is focusing more on serving the needs of the market, and the Shanghai International Film Festival is at the forefront of these initiatives," said Yan Kang, the executive vice-chairwoman of the festival's organizing committee.

Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, the SIFF is looking to facilitate increased collaboration between China and the rest of the world in the coming years, Kang told a gathering of Hollywood journalists, including those from entertainment publications like the Hollywood Reporter and Variety.

Kang said the SIFF, which is hosted by Chinese State Administration of Radio, Film and TV (SARFT) and the Municipal Government of Shanghai, has become the preeminent gateway to the burgeoning Chinese film market. As a top-class festival, SIFF is now recognized for its diverse programming and market initiatives and attracts world-renowned Asian and international filmmakers and talent to Shanghai. In 2006 the festival held its first China-Europe Cooperation Forum, which led to 11 joint production deals and was instrumentalin securing the joint project deal for the critically acclaimed The Painted Veil, between Warner Bros. and China Film Group Company.

The 2007 Shanghai International Film Festival, which runs from June 16 to 24, will increase audience participation by establishing new Audience Awards for Chinese and foreign films. The festival's Asian New Talent Award, introduced three years ago, will provide a Grand Prize of US$40,000 this year to encourage the international film community to recognize recognize young Asian film makers.

Many A-list stars, including Meryl Streep, Sophia Loren and Catherine Deneuve, as well as famous filmmakers like Oscar-winning producer Arnold Kopelson (The Platoon, 1987) and French director Luc Besson, who was the festival's jury chairman last year, have attended the festival.

Through the Shanghai International Film Festival, which attracted over 1,000 journalists from across the world last year, the Chinese film industry is gaining more and more attention from filmmakers home and abroad, Kang said.

"We expect there to be more worldwide attention than ever this year, with the introduction of our new initiatives and the added attraction of the celebrations for the festival's 10th anniversary, a landmark occasion for the Chinese film industry," she said.

(Xinhua News Agency January 19, 2007)

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