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YunFest indie film festival shut down

At the China Media Project, David Bandurski reports that the Yunnan Multicultural Festival, commonly known as YunFest,  has been shut down by authorities. This follows similar closings of the Beijing Independent Film Festival last August and the China Independent Film Festival in Nanjing last November.

“The forum — called so because the “film festival” is a much more sensitive matter to plan in China’s controlled media environment — is often attended by at least a handful of international critics and festival representatives.” Bandurski writes. “So the forum has also served as a crucial platform for young Chinese indie filmmakers to get their films seen and recognized internationally.”

Bandurski quotes notable social critic and Beijing Film Academy professor Cui Weiping, who attended YunFest and reported about it on the social media platform Weibo:

“YunFest” Multicultural Visual Festival is an important platform for independent documentary in China. It began in 2003 and has already gone on for 10 years. This year it has been cancelled completely [by the authorities]. Those of us who didn’t have time to cancel our tickets found ourselves in Dali. We are able to sit together and talk about film but unable to watch any films. On the surface the cancellation of a film forum doesn’t seem to mean much, but put all of these situations together and it amounts to the suppression of all space for cultural exploration and the killing of our country’s soft power.

For a firsthand look at a similar festival experience, watch this video report on last year’s Beijing Independent Film Festival, published on Sight & Sound magazine:


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