The Monkey King: Havoc in Heaven (1963)

Shanghai Animation Film Studio Retro

12 February to 28 February

The Shanghai Animation Film Studio Retro section will showcase 10 Chinese animation classics dated from the 1950s to the present. All films have recently been remastered to the highest quality (2K) and will appear in the UK for the very first time. SAFS is the oldest and the most respected animation studio in China. While animation fans in the West are more familiar with Japan’s Studio Ghibli, it in fact owes its inspiration to Chinese animation tradition. The master Hayao Miyazaki visited the Shanghai studio in 1984, before he set up his own a year later. Throughout the years, many in China have invited the master to deliver classes, but he always refused, saying “I don’t have anything to teach, you have the best studio in Shanghai. It is I that have to learn from the Shanghai studio.”

Approaching Reality

12 February to 12 May

In this documentary section, four films will be released this month (with at least six more to come): Double Happiness Limited (2018), A Yangtze Landscape (2017), Bazzar Jumpers (2012), and Daughter of Shanghai (2019). These are documentaries focusing on different sides of Chinese society and Chinese culture: family and marriage, geographical landscape, minority youth groups, and the international diaspora female figure. This section is in collaboration between CCS and Cathayplay, an international Chinese documentary film platform.

Debut Spotlight

12 February to 12 May

This section introduces contemporary Chinese directors and their striking debuts. Three films will be shown in the opening month: A First Farewell (2018) by Lina Wang, The Crossing (2018) by Bai Xue, and The Silent Holy Stone (2006) by Pema Tseden. Encompassing Mandarin, Cantonese (The Crossing), Tibetan (The Silent Holy Stone ) and Uyghur (A First Farewell )dialects and cultures, these films reflect how diverse life can be in the different regions of China.

Domestic Hits

12 February to 12 May

In recent years, the world has witnessed the rise of the Chinese mega-blockbuster and the seemingly unstoppable rise of the film industry in China. this section features commercial films that triumphed at the domestic box-office with relatively high production value. For the opening month the following are showing: Sheep Without a Shepherd (2019), Youth (2017), and The Captain (2019).

Discussion Panels

12 February to 6 April

Nine free discussion panels covering a wide range of industry and cultural topics will be organised by the UK-China Film Collab alongside the season to enrich its programme. The first four of these are detailed below. These panels will include high profile contributors including BBC presenter Professor Michael Wood, China enthusiast and ex-foreign policy advisor Lady Tessa Keswick, Mei Sim Lai OBE DL, Chair of Television Trust for the Environment, Chen Bo, Deputy Diector of Shanghai Animation Film Studio, Professor Rana Mitter, Director of the University of Oxford China Centre, Guanglei Jia, VP/China Business Executive at DNEG and many more.

Date and subject Description
International Reception of Chinese Language Films by Post-Millenials, 12 February Explores how young international audiences engage with Chinese cinema based on recent research findings.
British East/Southeast Asian Women in Film and TV, 19 February Explores what more can these ethnic groups do to challenge, as well as contribute to, the British film and TV industry.
Tradition and Innovation in Chinese Animation, 26 February In parallel to the “Shanghai Animation Film Studio Retro” programme, this panel provides a platform for attendees to engage with artists from the Studio.
The Colour of the Sky After Rain: An Evening with Lady Tessa Keswick, 26 February A rare appearance by Lady Tessa Keswick about her new book and her almost 40 years of engagement with China and its culture.
Film Data and Policy Between the UK & China, 5 March Addresses how the UK can learn from China’s fast-growing third-party ticketing system, and how China can learn about data protection from the UK.
The Future of Co-production Film Between the UK & China, 12 March Explores whether a successful co-production film can be made between the two countries. If so, what will it look like? Founder of Filming East Yixi Sun will share her experience on the UK-Chinese coproduction. Attendees will have a chance to travel virtually to the second largest film studio in China, Xiangshan Global Studios.
VR Immersive Experience R&D between the UK and China, 19 March Will introduce the latest million-pound awarded project dedicated to the R&D in VR through a Sino-British collaboration.
Opportunities for Documentary Filmmakers to Enter the Chinese Market, 26 March More and more British documentary talents are curious about working with Chinese counterparts. What are the opportunities and challenges? Hear from professionals who have been working with China, as well as the Head Programmer for Documentary at the Shanghai International Film Festival.
The Future of Hong Kong’s Film Industry, 6 April The first time this topic will be discussed in the UK, this unique panel explores where Hong Kong cinema is headed. What will be the next film from the region that can reach a mass audience?

Lou Ye Mini Retrospective

As one of the “Sixth Generation” directors, Lou Ye has been regarded as a “true artist”, an “authentic filmmaker” and a “constant fighter” of censorship. Despite the controversies, he achieved great success both in China and worldwide. He was nominated and won numerous awards owing to his unique editing style and camera movement, as well as his sharp observations and narratives about marginalised people and typical, but often undocumented, social phenomena in China. In this section, we will premiere Lou Ye’s penultimate film, Shadow Play, which took two years of editing to get the greenlight from authorities.

Cinephilia Forever

A film festival or exhibition would not be complete without the classics, the soul of the event. CCS is preparing a list of Chinese classic titles, which will be a wonderful banquet for film lovers. Some will be from the vibrant and evolving 1980s and 1990s in mainland China, and have never been shown in the UK and Ireland; some of them are martial arts classics from the 1960s and 1970s in Hong Kong and Taiwan. Others are national treasures from the 1930s to 1950s, depicting the life and society of “old China”.

Hong Kong Reimagined

The “Hong Kong Reimagined” section has been thoughtfully curated by the UK-China Film Collab. Its daring and provocative curatorial ambition is to enter current public debate about the region with a list of films that have not been widely available in the UK. As the largest recent showcase of Hong Kong cinema in the UK, this programme is a unique journey of Hong Kong people and their ways of resolving cultural conflict across different historical periods. Viewers will also experience how the British expat community have been represented in Hong Kong cinema throughout the history. To some, this will come as a shock. Hero or villain? The debate is open to all.

In partnership with the Academy of Film, Hong Kong Baptist University, four student films are included as part of the programme. Film students in the UK will be able to see fresh works by the latest talents from Hong Kong, for free. Thanks to the Academy, viewers will have an opportunity to participate in a series of Q&As with directors, such as Alex Law. The full programme will be announced in March and available from 6 April.