SHANGHAI — Producer Mike Medavoy received a lifetime achievement award at the 15th Shanghai Film Festival on Saturday, which bowed with around 400 biz figures treading the red carpet at the opening gala.
The lives of his parents, Jewish Ukrainian refugees, were saved when they were offered sanctuary in Shanghai during WWII. Medavoy was born in the city in 1941 and lived there for the first six years of his life.
Hollywood was further represented by Aaron Eckhart and Heather Graham.
Graham joins Chinese thesp Li Bingbing, producer Terence Chang and helmers Zhang Yang, Bela Tarr and Rakhshan Bani-Etemad on the Golden Goblet Jury judging the competition for international pics, presided over by French helmer Jean-Jacques Annaud.
Others attending the ceremony included Tony Leung, Lin Chiling, Song Jia and helmer Lu Chuan.
“The Shanghai Film Festival is a symbol of how Chinese film has developed, a window through which to see China and its culture,” deputy mayor Shu Guangshao said in a speech.
The nine-day fest features around 300 Chinese and foreign films in 14 programs at 28 cinemas across this city of 23 million.
The fest’s Golden Goblet Awards competition lineup includes Russian filmmaker Karen Shakhnazarov’s “White Tiger,” Pavel Lungin’s “The Conductor,” and “Chrysalis” from Spain’s Paula Ortiz. The U.S. isn’t represented in competition.
“We hope we can have different movie cultures from all over the world, and try to establish the second biggest distribution channel outside of Hollywood. I feel SIFF is the most diversified film festival in Asia,” fest director Tang Lijun told Variety ahead of the opening ceremony.
International pics skedded to screen include Kim Ki-duk’s “Arirang,” which took Cannes’ Un Certain Regard’s top prize in 2011, Woody Allen’s global box office hit “Midnight in Paris” and this year’s Berlinale Golden Bear winner “Caesar Must Die” from Italian filmmaking brothers Paolo and Vittorio Taviani.
“The Shanghai Film Festival offers more opportunities to audiences and more diverse films,” said helmer Zhang Yang.
Some 417 film producers and buyers have registered to attend the three-day film market, which kicks off today.
It will combine the China Film Pitch and Catch (CFPC) and Co-production Pitch and Catch (Co-FPC) sessions under a new title, the SIFF Project Market. Eight Chinese projects and 25 Chinese-foreign co-production projects will be presented.