Jia Zhangke, Marco Mueller Launch Pingyao Film Festival

China’s leading auteur film director Jia Zhangke has teamed with former Venice festival head Marco Mueller to launch the Pingyao International Film Festival. To be held in Pingyao Ancient City, in China’s Shanxi Province, the first edition of the festival will run October 19-26, 2017.

With the ambition of embracing dialog between non-Western and Western films, the festival will have a competitive section, named Crouching Tiger, focused on new directors. A sidebar on genre cinema will be named Hidden Dragon.

The festival is co-founded by Jia Zhang-ke, with Wang Huaiyu, CEO Liang Jiayan and CCO Wan Jiahuan. Mueller, who has also had roles at the Locarno, Rotterdam, Rome, Pesaro, Beijing, Silk Road and Macao festivals, is set as artistic director.

Backing comes from the Pingyao Film Festival Co. and with support from the Pingyao municipal government. Details were announced at an event Thursday in Beijing.

In its first edition, the boutique festival is aiming to show some 40 films. Mueller has assembled a team of selectors that includes: Marie-Pierre Duhamel, Richard Lormand, Sandra Hebron, Alena Shumakova, Diego Lerer, Deepti D’Cunha, Tomita Mikiko, Babak Karimi, and Jeremy Chua.

“I have been living a double life since the very first film I made when I was 27,” said Jia in a prepared statement. “On the one hand, I have been telling stories with films that have deep roots in Shanxi and China. Yet on the other hand, I shuttled through all kinds of international film festivals around the world with my films. I constantly wondered during the journey when we could have a film festival in our own country, in our own hometown, to let people look at our culture and our works and to contribute our reviews and opinions to world’s films. Today, my dream has come true.”

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