China’s Jia Zhangke Launches Video Platform Jia Screen

Leading Chinese auteur Jia Zhangke has teamed with the Hong Kong film festival and Taiwanese distributor Joint Pictures to launch online video destination Jia Screen.

The platform, which will launch in June, will focus on short films from around the world by first or second time directors. Available only in mainland China, it will introduce two new titles per week, giving a curated selection of 104 movies per year.

“Short films are made with a high degree of passion and creativity, but that creativity is now disappearing in China as fans don’t have access,” Jai said Tuesday at a launch event in Cannes. “The idea of Jia Screen is to improve that access. And besides, short films work well on mobile devices and tablet computers.”

Jia Screen will acquire China rights to the films with a one-year duration and on a flat-fee basis. Jia said that the first 15 titles had already been secured and others would be picked up in Cannes.

For users the site will be free of charge and be advertising supported. While the site will run on its own platform, users will typically access it not through a proprietary app, but instead through a public part of massively popular messaging service WeChat (aka ‘weixin’.) Jia said that he hopes to have 1 million registered users by the year end.

Marketing and promotion are a significant part of the operation. Each film will be given a three day launch and introduction period, comprising clips about the director, behind the scenes footage, recommendations and analysis by critics. In June each year, Jia Screen plans an offline awards event, highlighting a jury-selected handful of best films.

The partnerships with the HKIFF and Joint will enable the selectors to share out global selection responsibilities.

“We get thousands of submissions each year for the festival and cannot select all of them for our competition, so working with Jia Screen is a logical move,” said HKIFF Society executive director Roger Garcia. “We need to use digital platforms in order to reach younger people and for good films to reach wider audiences.”

Journalists from two Chinese newspapers will help select the local titles that will play. Jia, who has had some of his feature movies run into distribution difficulties in China, said that the site will not be subject to special censorship. It will rely on the standards set by WeChat editors.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Lady Gaga

    Variety Earns 15 Folio: Eddie & Ozzie Award Nominations

    Variety has received 15 Folio: Eddie & Ozzie award nominations for its coverage of the entertainment industry over the past year. The awards gala, which will take place at The Hilton Midtown in New York City on Oct. 30, celebrates publications that have demonstrated impressive investigative journalism, in addition to thoughtful digital and print design. [...]

  • WGA Agents Packaging Fight Placeholder

    Writers Guild Withdraws State Suit Against Agencies, Refiles in Federal Court

    The Writers Guild of America has withdrawn its state court suit against WME, CAA, UTA and ICM Partners alleging packaging fees are illegal and re-filed suit in federal court. The WGA also responded to antitrust claims brought against the guild by the three agencies. Those agency suits alleged that the WGA abused its power in [...]

  • Tim Roth to Receive Honorary Heart

    Tim Roth to Receive Honorary Heart of Sarajevo Award

    British actor Tim Roth is to receive the Honorary Heart of Sarajevo Award in recognition of his “exceptional contribution to the art of film.” The ceremony at the Sarajevo Film Festival will be held on Tuesday. He will hold a masterclass on the same day. His first screen role was the lead in the controversial [...]

  • Isabelle Huppert, receives the Honorary Heart

    Isabelle Huppert on Fateful Encounters, the Nature of Acting and Judging a Good Script

    Celebrated actress Isabelle Huppert, speaking at the Sarajevo Film Festival on Sunday, looked back on her illustrious career in a candid discussion that touched on her acting, the many renowned directors with whom she’s worked, and the importance of dialogue. The festival honored Huppert with its Honorary Heart of Sarajevo award “in recognition of her [...]

  • Inauguracion SANFIC 2019

    15th Sanfic Touts Attendance Rise, Hosts Gael Garcia Bernal, Wagner Moura

    Chile’s Santiago International Film Festival (Sanfic) launched its 15th edition Sunday Aug. 18 with three of Latin America’s best-known actors, Gael Garcia Bernal, Wagner Moura (“Narcos”) and Graciela Borges (“La Cienaga”), to which it bestowed career recognition awards. “It’s been 15 years in which we have presented more than 1,400 films,” noted Francisca Saieh, director [...]

  • Sarajevo, Intl. Casting Directors Network Look

    Sarajevo Film Festival and International Casting Directors Network Look to Launch Local Stars

    The Intl. Casting Directors Network (ICDN) and the Sarajevo Film Festival are joining forces to turn the popular Bosnian film fest into a springboard for regional actors looking to launch international careers. After kicking off with a pilot version last year, the initiative expanded to include a series of masterclasses with leading casting directors and [...]

  • Kristen Stewart Underwater

    Watch Kristen Stewart Fight Sea Monsters in 'Underwater' Trailer

    Vampires, ghosts and now sea monsters? Clearly there is no monster actress Kristen Stewart cannot tame. In the first trailer for the submerged thriller “Underwater,” Stewart is a member of a stranded submarine crew. The trailer begins with the radio message: “You are now 5,000 miles from land and you are descending seven miles to [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content