The previously postponed Beijing International Film Festival is to make a 2021 comeback and will be held later this month in the Chinese capital.
The festival is normally held in late April, but organizers took the precautionary move of shifting it to August this year. They were only days out from the opening night when city authorities responded to new coronavirus cases by reintroducing social distancing restrictions and postponing the festival.
The 11th edition will now be held Sept. 21-29, 2021, as an in-person event at more than 30 venues in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region. The opening and closing ceremonies will take place at Hairou to the Northeast of the city.
For the second year, an online extension of the festival will be run in partnership with the iQiyi streaming platform. It will operate Sept. 15-Oct. 8. Similarly, the Beijing Radio & Television Station will coordinate some screenings on its TV channels in what it calls “Living Room Theater.”
Organizers confirmed that the film lineup is identical to that previously announced in July and which was called off in August. It will include nearly 300 Chinese and foreign titles and total over 1,000 screenings.
Gong Li, one of China’s most celebrated actors will be head of the jury that awards the Tiantan Awards in the main competition section. Gong recently played sorceress Xianniang in Disney’s “Mulan” but enjoyed greater box office success portraying the Chinese national volleyball team’s coach Lang Ping in hit sports biopic “Leap.”
The festival’s conference program involves forums issues such as the centenary of the founding of the Communist Party of China, the development of arthouse films, the development of young filmmakers, animated films and the development and construction of a film town.
Discussion sessions are also one of the six strands of the accompanying Beijing Film Market. Other sections cove film exhibition, project pitching, events and activities, market screenings, and a contract signing ceremony.
It remains unclear how international the festival can be given the ongoing difficulty for foreigners and locals alike to enter the country with China’s ongoing COVID-19 travel restrictions and quarantine requirements.