Report on the China Independent Film Festival by Chris Berry
Spring Fever (dir. Lou Ye)
By international standards CIFF is a relatively small and under-resourced event. Screenings are scattered across a range of minor colleges, art galleries and museums in Nanjing, a former capital up the Yangtze from Shanghai. This year, approximately 70 experimental films, documentaries and dramatic features, almost all of them low-budget Chinese films, were included. Lou Ye’s Chunfeng Chenzui de Yewan (Spring Fever) won the Best Film award, and Ying Liang’s Hao Mao (Good Cats) and Zhang Jianchi’s Bai Qingting (Take Me to Vietnam) shared the Jury Prize. Anywhere else in the world, such an event would be a minor festival attracting little if any international coverage. But the very particular circumstances of China mean that CIFF can claim to be the most important film festival in the country.
Berry goes on to explain the significance of the festival’s programming, describes the collegiate atmosphere of the community forged by the festival, and identifies trends in Chinese independent filmmaking as reflected in the festival lineup. As a fellow attendee of the festival, I can attest to the festival’s extraordinary atmosphere and a special sense of camaraderie cultivated among its participating artists.
The rest of Berry’s report can be found at Senses of Cinema.