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Just Film Festival, a link between China and Europe

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Ma Heliang, Yang Fengwei • Founders, Just Film Festival

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- Cineuropa met up with Ma Heliang and Yang Fengwei, two of the founders of the Just Film Festival, the first genre festival in China, which is open to European movies

Ma Heliang, Yang Fengwei • Founders, Just Film Festival

Cineuropa met up with Ma Heliang and Yang Fengwei, two of the founders of the Just Film Festival, the first genre festival in China, which is open to European movies.

Cineuropa: What is the main motivation for you organising the festival?
Ma Heliang, Yang Fengwei: The main motivation is that there’s not a genre film festival like this in China - not like there is in Europe or North America. We have been inspired by many European film festivals, like Sitges, Brussels and Trieste. There are no platforms to encourage young Chinese talents to show their films. 

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Due to the increasing demand for genre films, the audience is getting larger and larger. The movie The Monkey King (Cheang Pou-soi, 2014) is just one example of the success that genre films can have in China and, more broadly speaking, in Asia.

How will you select the films?
The selection of films will be international. We wish to create a bridge between China and Europe in terms of genre films. This is why the promotion of our festival in Europe is so important. We will select fantasy, sci-fi, horror and any other genre imaginable. We don’t know how many films we will receive, and that is why we need to go step by step. After the first trials, we will see how many national and international films we select.

When is the festival expected to be held?
The first iteration is supposed to be held in September, in Beijing. Another part of the festival, which is very important, is the Fantasy Lab to facilitate the incubation of film projects.

Do you have a fund to finance genre-film projects?
No, we do not have a fund, but we will create a platform to support projects, with script doctoring and consulting during the development phases.

Besides the film festival, what other type of activities are you introducing?
CFCC is a company that promotes co-productions between China and Europe, headed up by the government. We will try to bridge the gap between our two continents and pull together on both European and Chinese fantasy productions, by pooling our resources - not only on certain projects, but fantasy film in general. 

The film festival could be a place to present European productions, of course, because one of the objectives of the gathering is to bring foreign productions to China and to promote co-productions between these two major players.

Are you cooperating with any other European festivals?
We have met with representatives of several European genre-film festivals (Brussels, Lund, Bucheon in South Korea, Fantasia and so on). We are extending our network around the world. We hope that the Just Film Festival will become a meeting point between Asian, European and American festivals.

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