The Shanghai - International Film Festival is the longest-standing and the biggest film festival in 中国, and the only festival with a category A rating. With 300 films screened in 35 theaters this year (26 in 2013), 900 screenings held in 9 days, and €1.6 million earned in ticket sales (with one half of this sum was registered on the first day of ticket sales), the 17th edition of the festival served as an essential platform for presenting the diversity of French film production in China.
This year's festival showcased around 50 French productions and co-productions, including two titles in competition: Diplomacy by Volker Schlöndorff and Elle l'adore by Jeanne Herry. The jury led by Li Gong honored Diplomacy with the Best Screenplay award for Cyril Gély and Volker Schlöndorff. The festival also featured a large-scale retrospective of the work of Alain Resnais, held with support from the French Institute, as well as the Focus France section organized in collaboration with UniFrance Films and our office in Beijing, which is managed by Isabelle Glachant. This section presented 6 recent French films, two of which have already been acquired for distribution in China: Minuscule: Valley of the Lost Ants by Hélène Giraud and Thomas Szabo, and Zulu by Jérôme Salle. Nicolas Brigaud-Robert also made the trip to China to accompany the five films handled by Playtime that were programmed at the festival.
Several French directors and producers also traveled to Shanghai to promote films scheduled for upcoming release in China. The directors of Minuscule: Valley of the Lost Ants arrived fresh from the Annecy International Animation Film Festival to meet with audiences and take part in a series of press conferences in the lead-up to their film's commercial release on August 22. Director Jeanne Herry and producer Sophie Tepper accompanied their film Elle l’adore at its world premiere, which received an enthusiastic reception from Chinese audiences. Grace of Monaco, which was released in China on June 20, was presented at a gala screening, represented by its lead actress Nicole Kidman. The Australian actress attended the festival's opening ceremony, at which she received a special award in honor of her movie career. Ms Kidman also took part in a press conference and a string of interviews to accompany the film's launch.
Franco-Chinese co-productions were also in the spotlight at this year's festival. Jean-Jacques Annaud took part in the opening ceremony to promote his film Wolf Totem, while the Chinese producers of The Nightingale by Philippe Muyl, along with a number of cast members, also traveled to Shanghai to support their film, which was presented in the competitive Focus China section. Two French films in development were presented at the festival's market for co-production projects: Shanghai Memory by Jérôme Cornuau, produced by Natacha Devillers for Les Petites Lumières, and Vega by Valérie Donzelli （ヴァレリー・ドンゼッリ）, produced by Édouard Weil for Rectangle Productions and Vincent Wang for House on Fire.
A film market and professional forums were also held as sidebar events. As part of these initiatives, the festival organized a forum on opportunities for digital production in France, in collaboration with the Film Paris Région (Commission du film d'Île-de-France) and UniFrance Films, and with support from the Sponsorship Committee for the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between France and the People's Republic of China and the French Consulate in Shanghai. Participants at this forum included the directors of Minuscule: Valley of the Lost Ants and representatives from Eagle Media, Digital District, Knightworks, and Versatile Media.