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London braces itself for Chinese film attack
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First came the "Terracotta Army attack". Then came the "China in London" festival. Now the British capital is bracing itself for another onslaught: "Beijing Spotlight: China in London 2008 - Cinema."

It is a series of new award-wining Chinese feature and documentary films, scheduled for screening in London at the end of March.

The films will be a diversified selection, showcasing the achievements of New China's film industry, says Adrian Wootton, chief executive officer of Film London, the city's film and media agency.

Film London, China's State Film Bureau and the Institute of Contemporary Arts are jointly organizing the festival.

Londoners will get a chance to see a retrospective of one of the most prominent fifth-generation Chinese filmmakers Tian Zhuangzhuang.

The package includes Vision Beijing, a series of five short films directed by renowned international directors. The films take a peek into the life of the Chinese before the Beijing Olympic Games.

Director Ning Hao's blockbuster Crazy Stone, too, is on the list, and the film's lead actor Huang Bo is expected to be present at the screening.

Still Life, a winner at the 2006 Venice Film Festival, is already in the theatres, and its poster has hit the Time Out London's February issue. It occupies the prime of place next to There Will Be Blood, for which Daniel Day-Lewis won the Best Actor trophy at the 2008 BAFTA Awards on Sunday.

Still Life is a tale of two individuals struggling to keep up with the dizzying pace of change in 21st century China. Set against the spectacular landscape of the Three Gorges Dam region along the Yangtze River, it is part of director Jia Zhangke's films being promoted by the British Film Institute and "China in London 2008 - Cinema".

The promotion of Chinese films is closely related to economic benefits, brought about mostly by the rise of film tourism. Perhaps that's why Wootton has invited more Chinese filmmakers to shoot in London.

"One film can employ at least 1,000 people and film-makers (usually) spend tens of millions of pounds in London," Wootton says. "That makes a lot of economic sense."

(China Daily February 12, 2008)

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