The Shanghai International Film Festival will take place this year from June 11 to June 19.
The news comes less than two weeks after Gao Yunfei, the head of Shanghai’s municipal film administration and vice minister of its propaganda department, stated at a press conference that the city was considering pushing the event back to July.
Registration for the 24th annual event is now open to “Chinese and foreign filmmakers and industry people,” the festival said, implying a door at least slightly ajar to international guests, despite the ongoing pandemic and China’s tight restrictions on foreign entries and visas, particularly for journalists.
Tickets for the few flights into China are currently astronomically expensive, and travelers are required to undergo a 14-day quarantine at a designated location at their own expense upon arrival.
Recently, certain health tests required on arrival have made headlines, particularly anal swab tests performed on foreigners. This type of COVID-19 test involves inserting a sterile cotton swab 3 to 5 cm into the anus. Currently, those flying to Shanghai must take this test and several others, should more than five people test positive for COVID-19, according to Reuters.
In China, in-person gatherings have long been possible as life and the economy return to normal. In-person opening and closing red carpet ceremonies will, as usual, bookend this year’s film festival. The announcement called the fanfare “important image-making window for the Shanghai International Film Festival to enhance its brand influence and strengthen its power to communicate internationally.”
The Shanghai Film Festival was postponed last year from planned mid-June date due to the pandemic. It only officially announced its new dates 10 days before it was set to begin, running from July 25 to Aug. 2 with a mix of indoor and outdoor screenings,
The eclectic line-up was designed to pull wary moviegoers back to cinemas during the first few days that theaters had re-opened after six months of closures — and it worked, with cinephiles snapping up nearly 110,000 tickets in just a few minutes. Among the 400 films scheduled last year were foreign titles that included all eight of the “Harry Potter” franchise titles, Jordan Peele’s “Us,” a 4K restoration of “Apocalypse Now” and “1917,” the only studio film new to Chinese audiences among the various offerings.