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.