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HAINAN FILM FESTIVAL: ISLAND MENTALITY

The Hainan Island International Film Festival in China’s Sanya is back on again after a cancelation earlier this month at short notice. The festival, overseen and curated by Marco Mueller, will operate Dec. 18-25 and open with a premiere screening of “Post Truth.” The film directed by and starring Da Peng, is built on the premise that it is never easy to refute a rumor. The story follows a seller of cemetery plots who is determined to rehabilitate the reputation of one of his deceased clients. The film is set for commercial release on Dec. 31. While the details of Mueller’s competition sections have still not been revealed, components of the other sections contain many of the most accomplished international films of the past year. “Jeong Sun,” “Riceboy Sleeps” and “Tora’s Husband” appear in the Fest Best section. “Almost Love,” “In Viaggio,” “My Imaginary Country” and “Walk Up” appear in the Fest Best Masters section. The Panorama section is home to “Ajoomma,” “Arnold is a Model Student,” and “A Man,” among others.

For nearly three years China has operated one of the world’s strictest anti-COVID campaigns, whereby mass testing, instant lockdowns and other restrictions could be triggered by just a handful of confirmed infections. That was the case in Hainan Province just a few weeks ago and caused the festival to call an abrupt halt to its preparations. However, in the last week, China has ditched many of the measures, effectively allowing the festival to go ahead. Public reactions are difficult to determine. Not only will the festival compete directly against “Avatar: The Way of Water,” which releases in China on Friday, anecdotal evidence suggests that COVID infections are now on the rise in China and that in many places people are sheltering at home all over again.

EXHIBITION

Leading Indian multiplex operator PVR Cinemas, in partnership with French exhibitor CGR Cinemas, has opened its premium ICE Theaters auditoria at two properties in India’s National Capital Region, Delhi – at PVR Promenade Mall and PVR Ambience Mall. The state-of-the-art ICE immersive technology is designed as a sensorial experience that features LED panels on each side of the auditorium, in order to fill the moviegoer’s peripheral vision with supplementary ambient colors and shapes to complement the action on the main screen.

SALES

Vuulr, the global online content marketplace for film and TV rights, has facilitated the acquisition of some 100 hours of Muslim lifestyle content for Qalbox, the Muslim entertainment streaming service in the Muslim Pro app that features a library of content that celebrates the diversity of Muslim identities and cultures.

Titles include award-winning film “Barakat,” the first Afrikaans-language Muslim feature film produced in South Africa, and the country’s official submission for international feature at the 94th Academy Awards in 2022; and acclaimed documentary “Dalya’s Other Country.”