Ten top Chinese directors have signed on to give a joint donation of RMB1 million ($155,000) to support new Chinese works and directors at the Pingyao International Film Festival, marking a vote of confidence in the festival’s future as its leadership changes hands.
The helmers contributing to the fund are a who’s who list of leading Chinese directing talent, including: Jia Zhangke, Lou Ye, Diao Yinan, Ning Hao, Feng Xiaogang, Guan Hu, Chen Sicheng, Wang Xiaoshuai, Zhang Yibai (“The Longest Night in Shanghai”), and Cheng Er (“The Wasted Times”).
It will be awarded to one of the shortlisted works in the festival’s “Hidden Dragons” section, which is devoted to second or third films from new directors in the Chinese language. The prize is intended to be put toward Chinese distribution for the film and the development of the director’s next work.
In the past, the “Hidden Dragons” section has honored Chinese-language films like Vivian Qu’s “Angels Wear White,” animation “Have a Nice Day,” Anthony Chen’s ”Wet Season,” Liang Ming’s “Wisdom Tooth,” Han Shuai’s “Summer Blur” and Wei Shujun’s “Striding Into the Wind.”
The annual festival’s fifth iteration is set to take place this year from Oct. 12-19 in the picturesque historic city of Pingyao in Shanxi province, near the hometown of its co-founder, director Jia Zhangke.
Jia unexpectedly quit the festival last October, handing over the reins to the Pingyao city government, and stating: “I should’ve left [the festival] earlier and begun to groom a new team to take over the festival, so that this festival can get rid of ‘Jia Zhangke’s shadow.'”
In June, however, he said that he would in fact be returning, albeit in a rather murky new role. Film editor Lin Xudong is now artistic director.