The fifth edition of the Beijing International Film Festival (BJIFF) opens tomorrow (Thursday) and will screen five NZ titles, including Jemaine Clement & Taika Waititi’s 2014 local box office champion What We Do in the Shadows. The film is also on theatrical release in the US.
Also selected for Beijing are Giselle, Housebound, Mt. Zion and recent Sundance winner Slow West.
In an interview with Chinese news agency Xinhua, NZFC CEO Dave Gibson was quoted as saying the films represented “a slice of contemporary kiwi life(sic)”.
The NZFC has a booth at the festival’s accompanying Beijing Film Market, with a delegation of producers attending and following up on last year’s NZFC-led five-city tour of China. As well as producers, the NZFC is taking a coffee machine, to introduce the Chinese to flat whites. Gibson told Xinhua, “We really want to raise our profile. We’ll offer coffee and a good environment. We can invite people to get to know the producers.”
NZ was the first country to sign co-production treaties for film and TV with China. The NZFC last year announced dedicated funding support for filmmakers specifically to help develop projects with Chinese partners. Gibson noted that an animated feature and a doco had got quite close to being the first official co-productions, but that had yet to happen.
The Beijing International Film Festival runs 16-23 April. The Market runs 17-20 April.