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Chinese 'Belt and Road' Initiative Includes Silk Road International Film Festival
22 Jun 2017 : Deirdre Hopkins
International Alliance set to support “Belt and Road” movie production.

A multi-national production alliance to expand the influence of film in China’s “Belt and Road” initiative participating countries was signed at the 20th Shanghai International Film Festival which is currently taking place from the 17th to 26th June.

The Silk Road International Film Festival (SRFF), which takes place across the city of Dublin in March each year was representing Ireland under the Belt & Road initiative at Shanghai International Film Festival. The 6th Silk Road International Film Festival will take place in March 2018. Festival co-founder and director Carla Mooney was invited to Shanghai to sign a Memorandum of Understanding alongside representatives of the film festivals and film organisations from 14 countries who joined the new cooperation.  It aims to build a film network that integrates resources, develops new opportunities and promotes the “Belt and Road” concept. 

SRFF is launching an online film festival called Silk Road Online Film Festival which specifically helps independent filmmakers to raise their visibility through the web for a limited time during the online festival.  The international audience will be able to register with Silk Road ON DEMAND video on demand platform (launching September 2017) where they can vote for their favorite film to win.  The Silk Road ‘Online’ Film Festival competition is currently open for submissions through FilmFreeway. The Silk Road ON DEMAND platform supports and promotes the Belt & Road initiative in collaboration with Silk Road International Film Festival. 

The signatory countries are China, Egypt, Greece, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Netherlands and the Philippines.

Launched three years ago, the “Belt & Road” initiative presents not only new opportunities for economic and social development in the countries across Asia, Africa & Europe but also in depth cultural exchange.

Zhang Hongsen, deputy director of China’s State Administration of Radio, Film and Television said the cooperation opens new doors for filmmakers, "Films can support Silk Road traditions and spirit through co-production projects, film exhibitions and industry exchanges, he said.

"The Chinese film industry’s soaring development in the international market has attracted numerous filmmakers seeking new partnerships", he added.

China encourages global filmmakers to integrate cultural resources through co-production projects while pushing forward the diversity and development of the international film industry.  (By Liza Li (Shanghai Daily)

As part of the international alliance signing there were two Belt and Road film culture roundtable talks divided into two panels, European and Afro-Asia.  By focusing on their status quo of the film industry, the roundtable talk committed to boost film culture exchanges, explore approaches for future cooperation and co-formulate the blueprint for the film industry development along the “Belt and Road”.  In the European Panel, representatives from European regions shared their experiences and insights concerning the exhibition, distribution, audience cultivation and regional cooperation from the perspective of respective film festivals and organizations.

The Memorandum of Understanding states:

Film, as an essential medium of cultural exchange among people of all countries, has long been a major channel of different civilizations to reach a mutual understanding.  The inheritance, development and promotion of film culture require efforts from each relevant cultural organization and film institution around the world.  Beyond all that, these organizations and institutions should strengthen exchanges and cooperation to reach a better development prospect and more practically, enrich the choices of film watching for the international audience.  Thus, under the context of the Belt and Road Initiative, we gathered at Shanghai International Film Festival, agreed to establish a film cultural exchange and cooperation, which includes the following:

  • Intensify the cultural spread and exchanges on the platform of film festivals.
  • Enhance the communication and understanding of each country’s customs and cultural traditions on the platform of film festivals.
  • Strengthen exchanges and mutual learning among the cinéaste from our countries on the platform of film festivals.
  • Advance the holding of film panorama in respective institutions and organizations from our countries.
  • Strengthen communications and foster a collaborative relationship in film production, distribution and exhibition from our countries on the platform of film festivals.
  • Enhance the cross-country communication of film education and film criticism on the platform of film festivals.

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