British Film Institute Strikes Program Pact With China’s iQIYI

'Ilo Ilo' Singapore film
Courtesy of Film Movement

The British Film Institute has struck an exclusive deal to curate a movie strand for iQIYI, one of China’s largest online video platforms.

“The BFI Collection for iQIYI includes 20 feature titles, a mixture of stand-out British independents and world cinema, which have all premiered at the BFI London Film Festival,” the organization said in a statement.

Some titles have already been licensed by iQIYI from rights owners. Others are supplied to the Chinese company by the BFI. The BFI describes its role as having “programmed and delivered” the collection.

Titles in the collection include “Captain Phillips,” “Ilo Ilo” and “Submarine.” BFI-supplied titles include “Philomena,” “Nowhere Boy” and “Millions.”

They are organized into thematic strands including “foreign adventures,” “growing pains” and “family anecdotes,” mirroring the London festival’s own programming avenues. The collection is expected to grow beyond the initial 20.

“Online movie streaming transcends time and space to allow more Chinese movie fans to watch world-class films in real time,” said Yang Xianghua, senior VP of iQIYI.

“The BFI is uniquely placed to deliver such collections and we’re looking forward to working with more partners in more territories to bring outstanding British cinema to audiences around the world,” said Edward Humphrey, digital director at the BFI.

The BFI has previously screened several films in China and the U.K., and led film trade delegations to China. In the U.K. in 2014 it presented “Electric Shadows,” a year-long Chinese film program.  With the British Council, in 2013 in China it screened presentations of the BFI’s restorations of Alfred Hitchcock’s early silent films. And at the 2015 Great Festival of Creativity in Shanghai, the BFI presented 1901 title “Nanking Road, Shanghai,” one of the earliest surviving films from China preserved through the BFI National Archive.

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