Petition For Shuttered Beijing Independent Festival Expands

TORONTO – More than 30 international festivals have now added their names to the list of organizations which have signed a petition in support of the Beijing Independent Film Festival which was last month closed down by Chinese authorities.

Signatories include representatives from the Adelaide Film Festival, Berlinale Forum, DocLisboa, Film Society of Lincoln Center, Göteborg International Film Festival, Melbourne International Film Festival, New York Film Festival, Torino Film Festival, Tokyo Filmex, and Switzerland’s Visions du Réel.

The annual festival and the fund behind it have remained on the fringes of the Chinese industry, which has boomed and become more mainstream in recent years. It has also been a source of films and information on the Chinese underground movement for overseas festivals.

Offering his “wholehearted support,” to the Beijing Independent festival, Rutger Wolfson head of the International Film Festival Rotterdam, said “their festival is close to the Chinese film makers and their work. We want them to be able to show their works in China.”

“I’m not sure the authorities in China will lie awake worrying about our response, but it is important for us to make a statement and it is important for the Chinese film-makers that we do,” said Wolfson.

“The festival has lived under threat before, but it managed to put on new events. This time the seizure of their archives makes it much harder for them to go on in the future.”

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