The 23rd Shanghai International Film Festival (SIFF) ended on Sunday without glittering trophies or red carpets, indicating the realities of running a film festival in the coronavirus era.

The nine-day event brought key figures in the Chinese film industry to Shanghai, with famous foreign filmmakers participating in diverse online sessions and activities.

This year’s SIFF, the first major international film festival held since the COVID-19 outbreak began, included a conference series known as the Golden Goblet Forum, a virtual International Film and TV Market and the SIFF project market.

It also included a Belt and Road Film Week, an India Film Week and special sections respectively focusing on films from Germany, Italy, Japan and Indonesia.

This year’s event saw 322 movies screened at 29 designated movie theatres across the city, many of which were new releases. According to the organisers, 3,693 registered films from 108 countries and regions around the world were submitted.

The screenings, with seating capacity capped at 30 percent, still drew 147,502 viewers via outdoor and online events.

In addition to online screenings and live-streamed forums, this year’s film festival also moved its film and TV markets online.

Since the decision was announced, the organisers received registrations from more than 700 exhibitors within 10 days, nearly half of which were from overseas.

The virtual market for films and TV programs will continue running through August 5, featuring feature online exhibitions of films and TV programs, meetings and promotions, and a variety of online services, including copyright and insurance consulting.

Undoubtedly, the successful running of the SIFF is a great encouragement for virus-weary Chinese filmmakers and the whole industry, which has been hard hit by the pandemic.

It not only demonstrated the effectiveness of China’s pandemic control efforts, but also encouraged Chinese filmmakers to keep working hard for a better future, said veteran Chinese film director Jia Zhangke.

The 26th Shanghai TV Festival will kick off on Monday, August 3, following the conclusion of the film event.

Author: Hong Yaobin
Editor’s note: The article reflects the author’s opinion only, and not necessarily the views of editorial opinion of Belt & Road News.