The Belt and Road Initiative and New Pattern of Chinese Film

The Belt and Road refers to the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. It will fully rely on the existing bilateral and multilateral mechanisms as well as effective regional cooperation platforms. With the ancient Silk Road as its symbol, the Belt and Road aims to actively develop economic partnerships with countries along the route on the basis of peaceful development, in a bid to build a community of shard future, interests and responsibility based on mutual political trust, economic integration and cultural inclusiveness.
The Belt and Road Initiative is a strategic measure of all-dimensional opening-up to the outside adopted by China in the new era, as well as a blueprint for common prosperity proposed by China to the world, which is full of oriental wisdom. At present, the Belt and Road Initiative has completed the initial planning and making steady program towards sustainable development.


Films can serve as an important massager for the cultural exchanges of the Belt and Road Initiative
Cultural exchanges cooperation is an important part of the Belt and Road Initiative. President Xi Jinping said: “ The world civilization is enriched and diversified thanks to mutual learning and exchanges. Cultural exchanges can serve as an important driving force for the progress of mankind and for the peace of the world.” He also stressed that we should coordinate economic cooperation and people-to-people exchanges, pragmatic advance and public opinion guidance. The top-level designing document, Vision and Actions on Jointly Building Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road, puts forward: We should support the local authorities and general public of countries along the Belt and Road to explore the historical and cultural heritage of the Belt and Road, jointly hold investment, trade and cultural exchange activities, and ensure the success of the Silk Road (Dunhuang) International Culture Expo, Silk Road International Film Festival and Silk Road International Book Fair. We should hold culture years, arts festivals, film festivals, TV weeks and book fairs in each other’s countries; cooperate on the production and translation of fine films, radio and TV program. ”

In terms of exchanges in filmmaking, China has signed co-production agreements of films with 15 countries, as well as the co-production agreement in TV dramas with a number of countries.
A number of fine films have been co-produced, such as Kung Fu Yoga by China and India, the animation named Panda and Little Mole by China and the Czech Republic, the TV drama named A Clear Sky by China and Russia, as well as the documentary of Confucius by China and the UK.   Even some of the Chinese TV and films reflecting the life of modern China are used as national presents by President Xi Jinping to the President of Argentina, including Beijing Youth, To Elderly With Love and Love is not Blind. The 2016 Silk Road International Film Festival initiated by China attracted 57 countries to participate. At the 2017 BRICS Film Festival to be held in Chengdu, China in June, 30 films will be shown, which are produced by China, Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa.
Films and TV works are an important channel of people-to-people exchanges, “Films can transcend the differences in space, language and culture. Through such audio-visual language, films can touch and narrow the distance between people in different countries. ” At the recently held Summit on the Beauty of Film, Secretary of the sub-Party Committee of China Film Association, Mr. Zhang Hong said that the film plays an important role in cultural exchanges and it is a messenger promoting the mutual learning of different cultures. Tong Gang, Deputy Director of the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television of the People’s Republic of China(SAPPRFT), said that we should work on the following three aspects in the future: First, strengthen co-production of film and TV works. Second, increase the translation and dubbing of films and TV dramas. We should dub the Chinese films and TV dramas in the local language and by local popular actors and actresses. For example, the Chinese TV drama Doudou and Her Mother-in-law was dubbed in Swahili and shown in Tanzania, which became unprecedentedly popular with local audience. Third, deepen exchanges between domestic and foreign talents
The co-production of films with countries along the Belt and Road will help Chinese films to go international; meanwhile, it can facilitate the sharing of resources between China and these countries, thus broadening the horizon and improve the quality of Chinese films. Steady progress is being made in holding film exhibitions and co-producing films. In this way, advanced technology and human resources are pooled together, while the establishment of film and TV base offers support for the development of the film industry of countries along the Belt and Road. At the end of last year, over 30 international film organizations decided to invest RMB 15 billion to build the Belt and Road Film and TV Creative Culture Town, which consists of ten modules, such as the film and TV theme park, education and training base, as well as the filmmaking and post-production base, and some of the modules will be jointly developed and operated by a dozen of countries in Europe and the Middle East.


Belt and Road being the main theme of the 2017 Shanghai International Film Festival
Since the Belt and Road Initiative was put forward four years ago, the cooperation among countries along the route has added new vigor and vitality to the inclusive pattern of global film market.
The Shanghai International Film Festival took the lead in responding to the Belt and Road Initiative. As the best-known A-level film festival in China, the 18th Shanghai International Film Festival set up the special panorama units of Silk Road and BRICS Focus in 2015. A total of 11 films from Iran, Nepal, Estonia, Slovenia and Slovakia participated in the film panorama. In 2016, the 19th Shanghai International Film Festival made the Belt and Road a standing unit for the first time, attracting the attention of filmmakers nationwide. While encouraging the film creation along the route of the Belt and Road, it also encourages more filmmakers to join the selection of the films for the 20th Shanghai International Film Festival. Meanwhile, the representative film festivals of these countries signed the Belt and Road Film Festival Strategic Cooperation Agreement. These include the Shanghai International Film Festival, the Tallinn Black Night Film Festival and the Cairo International Film Festival, three A-level film festivals in the world.
So far, the 20th Shanghai International Film Festival has received the application of 2,528 films from 106 countries and regions, including 1,016 films submitted by filmmakers and institutions from 50 countries and regions along the Belt and Road, setting a new record.
Against the backdrop of the Belt and Road, elements concerning it are becoming more prominent at the 20th Shanghai International Film Festival. Apart from a large number of films, there will also be signing ceremonies, the Belt and Road Initiative Roundtable Forum, and film promotion activities. In addition, the 20th Shanghai International Film Festival also has a Belt and Road Pavilion. Meanwhile, many films made by Malaysia, Philippines, Afghanistan, Serbia and Romania are incorporated into the Belt and Road Special Presentations, including the religious and art film, Hema Hema: Sing Me a Song While I Wait, which won public praise at the Locarno International Film Festival and Toronto International Film Festival, where well-known Chinese actor and actress, Zhou Xun and Liang Chaowei play a part. Romanian director Radu Jude also brings with him the new film, Scarred Hearts. His well-known works include Aferim! and Moartea domnului Lazarescu.


The Belt and Road Initiative adds vigor and vitality to the global film market.

At the press conference on the promotion of people-to-people exchanges of countries along the Belt and Road on May 11, Tong Gang, Deputy Director of the SAPPRFT, said that in order to give full play to the films, radios and publications as the bridge connecting countries along the Belt and Road, since 2013, the SAPPRFT has implemented the programs of the Silk Road Media Partnership and Silk Road Books. Over the past three more years, these two projects have played a positive role in promoting people-to-people exchanges, including the five aspects of the production of special programs, film festivals, joint creation with countries along the Belt and Road, media brand activities as well as technical industry cooperation.
At the 7th Beijing International Film Festival held in 2017, a special presentation unit of the Belt and Road was set up, gathering together fine films from countries along the route, including the On the Milky Road, Le Client, and Ma’ Rosa. The festival also arranged the “Belt and Road” Themed Forum, where the documentary featuring large wild animals, Tiny Kingdoms, made the debut. Meanwhile, Summit on the Beauty of Film—Film Development of “Belt and Road” and a New Trend of Global Film was one of main submits of the festival.
China Alliance of Radio, Film and Television and the Malaysian Ministry of Tourism and Culture signed an agreement on cooperation in Beijing, announcing that the Belt and Road Film Cultural Festival & the Fourth Asia Rainbow TV Awards will be held in Kuala Lumpur. It is a concrete action of implementing the results of the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation. The two sides decided to strengthen cooperation in filmmaking and themed leisure tourism. The Film Cultural Festival will be held in Kuala Lumpur in March, 2018, when the 1st Belt and Road Forum for Film &TV Cooperation of Asian Countries and other events will be held.
So far, a number of high quality films and TV works themed on the Belt and Road Initiative have been launched, reflecting the significance of it and the charm of countries along the route. For example, the start-up study on the 1st Belt and Road-themed documentary, Common Destiny, was launched, with the guidance of the Office of the Leading Group for the Belt and Road Initiative. The documentary was put on the record of the SAPPRFT. The film was co-produced by Documentary China Council and other domestic and foreign film and TV organizations, shot in China’s mainland, Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan, as well as in Asia, Europe, Africa, Australia, North America and South America, which is aimed at telling the story of the Silk Road and the blueprint of China through international production and marketing. The film is scheduled to be completed in 2018, when it will be released simultaneously at domestic and overseas movie theaters, international mainstream media and media platforms of related countries along the Belt and Road. The documentary, Hour China, jointly launched by the China Intercontinental Communication Center and Discovery Network Asia Pacific will release the Belt and Road Season from May 6 to July 1. Through the mainstream international platform of Discovery, fine co-produced documentaries, including the Rise of Silk Road, Crossroads: 2000 Years on the Silk Road, Delicacy Hunter: On the silk Road will be broadcast to 116 million households in 38 countries and regions through Discovery’s Southeast Asia Channel, Australia – New Zealand channel and South Asia Channel.
In recent years, China has signed co-production agreements of films with 15 countries, as well as the co-production agreement in TV dramas with a number of countries. With the progress made in the implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative, the Chinese film is faced with great opportunity and severe challenge. We need to be sober-minded and audience-oriented while carrying out objective analysis from new perspectives, in a bid to promote the sustainable and sound development of Chinese films, and enable them to be the friendly messenger for people-to-people exchanges with other countries, as well as an effective means of promoting the integration of diversified culture along the Belt and Road. The implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative will also shape a new pattern for the Chinese films.

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