Founded in 2007 by Yixi Sun and sponsored by the UK Film Council, the Filming East Festival is a registered charity in England and Wales. Press conferences were held in Beijing and London, announcing that the first Filming East Festival would take place in Oxford and London.
In 2008, Filming East Festival relocated to London. In addition to a series of special events throughout the year, the film showcase was held from November 21st to the 26th at the Odeon Cinema in Covent Garden. During the five days, more than 15 films were screened, including “The Banquet” and “Assembly” by Feng Xiaogang, “PK.COM.CN” by Xiao Jiang, “Little Red Flowers” by Zhang Yuan, and “The Warlords” by Peter Chan.
The Festival continued to expand its outreach in the UK, bringing Chinese cinema to the wider regions of South East England. More than 20 feature films and programmed short film sessions were screened in Chichester, Oxfordshire, Woking, Chertsey and Virginia Water. Filmmaking workshops and seminars were also delivered.
Stepping into its 4th year, the Filming East Festival had been the largest Chinese film festivals in the UK and in Europe, with more than 3000 signed members.
As part of the case study of international culture exchange, Filming East Festival was included in the communication studies book published by the Communication University of China, 2011.The Filming East Festival gained growing international recognition.and was included as a case study of international cultural exchange in the Communication Studies textbook published by the Communication University of China in 2011.
In 2012, the Filming East Festival became an official event partner of the British Film Institute (BFI). In February, Filming East Festival and the BFI celebrated the Year of the Dragon with a selection of classic and contemporary Chinese feature films, dealing with themes of age, sport and philosophy: Golden Horse Winner “A Simple Life” (Ann Hui)., A retrospective screening of the Woman Basketball Player No. 5 (Xie Jing, 1957), and the historical epic Confucius (Mei Hu).
Over the New Year period, Filming East Festival has shown a season of Chinese films, including “The Opium War” (Xie Jin), “Red” (Ann Hui) and ‘Ping Pang’(Ann Hui), marking the 3rd year of our collaboration with the BFI. Peng Wenlan, chairperson of the Meridian Society, who was also the UK line producer on “The Opium War”, introduced the 1996 film.
As presenting partner, Filming East Festival was involved in the British Film Institute’s year long celebration of the Chinese cinema programme “Electric Shadow”. The highlight of the programme included a 20 day film showcase of Chinese cinema and a tribute programme to Feng Xiaogang, the pacemaker of Chinese entertainment films. In May, Filming East Festival co-presented the “Jia Zhangke in Conversation” event with the Chinese Visual Festival.
To coincide with the Chinese New Year celebration through cinema, the 9th Filming East Festival and the British Film Institute programmed three events in February and March. This included a screening of “Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles” by Zhang Yimou and two other special events: “A Time Traveller’s Guide to China” with live piano accompaniment, showcasing the rarely seen early film footage of Chinese cinemas; and a talk delivered by Cultural historian and film writer Christopher Frayling that draws from his book The Yellow Peril: Dr. Fu manchu and the Rise of Chianphobia to explore the (mis)representation of the Chinese people in British and American cinema.
The 10th Filming East Festival opened at the BFI Southbank, with the UK Premiere of “The Calligraphy Master”. Directed by Yinnan Ding and Zhen Ding, it is a biopic of the prestige Chinese calligrapher and ink-painter Qi Gong.