The renowned International Chinese Film Festival (ICFF) is one of the largest and most distinguished Chinese cultural events around the world, and is held annually in Sydney, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Melbourne and other major locations across Asia.
Every year, a number of high profile Chinese language films from Mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan will be screened in Australia, attracting thousands of film-lovers with an interest in Chinese film.
This year, China Cultural Centre in Sydney joins hands with the International Chinese Film Festival to present a special press conference in the lead-up to the Festival week. Scheduled from 21st to 28th November, the aim of both parties is to promote Chinese films in the global market, as well as improve communication and collaboration between Chinese film industry professionals and their international counterparts.
“From a cultural perspective, film has been a very effective vehicle of promoting cross-cultural dialogue and mutual understanding between peoples and nations; it can help change perceptions, challenge stereotypes and enhance understanding”, said Mrs. Zhao Li, Director of the Centre.
“That’s also why we have regular film screenings at the Centre and DVDs available for lending at the library”, she continued.
In the past few years, opportunities to build business and cultural exchange between Australia and China have been intrinsically important both to the Australian screen sector and the general public.
“The recent signing of the Free Trade Agreement and the huge rise of box office in China, we’re all more acutely aware of China and the potential for us to work together and sharing economic and cultural benefits”, said Richard Harris, Head of Business and Audience Department, Screen Australia.
Harris also said: “The signing of the Australia-China Film Co-production Agreement back in 2007 has really been integral in laying the ground work for our work together in future film. Eight years on, we’ve developed a greater understanding of our respect industries.”
The annually-held International Chinese Film Festival reflects the increasing bond and collaborative opportunities arising between the Australian and Chinese creative industries, particularly in the film industry.
“We hopefully see and germinate some of those ideas into future co-productions that can happen both here in Australia and in China, and assist the collaboration, knowledge and growth between both countries’ industries”, said Wayne Borg, Managing Director of Fox Studios Australia.
Over the last five years, the combined box office of Chinese language films released in Australian cinemas has grown from 2 million in 2011 to a forecast of 7 million for 2015. This explosive growth hasn’t gone unnoticed from those in the film industry.
“This year alone, four Chinese films have grossed over 500,000 each at the box office to over a million”, said Mick Robbins, Head of International Marketing – Sydney Australia at China Lion Film Distribution.
“My ambition for the last five years is to work with the festival to attract more western audiences to watch and enjoy these wonderful films, not only are they entertaining, but they definitely help in developing a much better understanding and appreciation of Chinese culture”, he continued to add.
Since 2009, ICFF has brought more than 100 top quality Chinese films to Australian screens and received media coverage and support from both Chinese industry partners and local Australian media. This year, the focus of the ICFF is Chinese co-production, particularly with the Australian film industry.
“This year is a turning point for this Festival, we actually aim to build up this platform for helping the collaboration between Chinese and Australian film industries, we want to use this platform to let Chinese film makers and Australian film makers work together, understand each other better”, said Lanwei Gong, President of International Chinese Film Festival.
During this year’s Festival week from 22nd to 28th November, events such as the opening ceremony, welcome dinner, closing ceremony etc will be held in Sydney, Gold Coast, and Melbourne.
In association with International Chinese Film Festival and Screen Australia, China Cultural Centre in Sydney will co-host the Australia China Co-production Forum on 23rd November. Additionally, seven of the latest Chinese films across different genres, all being candidates for this year’s ICFF final award, will be screened at the Centre during the Festival week.