Industry delegation will go to Beijing film festival in April.
The BFI is unveiling a year-long special collaboration between the UK and China, which will include business, trade, creative and cultural initiatives.
This news comes as a UK-China Co-Production Treaty is being finalised.
The BFI, which will bring its Chinese activities together under the banner Electric Shadows, is working alongside a range of key partners including the British Council, DCMS, UKTI and the GREAT Britain Campaign.
China is a key priority in the BFI’s International Strategy. The news today was announced at the BFI’s final Film Forever Roadshow at BFI Southbank in London.
Electric Shadows will include Feng Xiaogang [pictured] visiting the BFI in February, including a gala screening of Back to 1942 with an on-stage interview with Feng on Feb 21. Other films by Feng, including If You Are The One, Assembly and Aftershock, will be programmed as part of the BFI’s Spectacular China season.
The BFI and British Council will work on the UK’s presence at Filmart in Hong Kong as well as bringing a trade delegation to the Beijing International Film Festival in April. There will also be a UK film focus at BIFF.
From June to October, the BFI will host the A Century of Chinese Cinema programme, in partnership with the Toronto International Film Festival. Highlights of that programme will include The Goddess, Street Angel and In The Mood For Love. Also, the BFI will send a restored collection of rare early non-fiction Chinese films from the early 1900s from the BFI National Archive to screen in Beijing and potentially in other Chinese cities.
Amanda Nevill, BFI CEO, said: “China is becoming one of the most important cultural and economic partners for film and is a key territory in the BFI’s international strategy for film.
“With this celebratory year, the BFI puts words into action by presenting a programme packed with dynamic economic, creative and cultural partnerships to foster this hugely important territory and the largest and fastest growing film audience in the world.
“I can’t think of a better way to launch this most significant year for Anglo-Chinese film collaborations than a visit to the UK from China’s most popular contemporary film director Feng Xiaogang. It’s so exciting for British audiences to discover his work, already enjoyed by literally millions of Chinese film goers.”
Nevill was part of a trade delegation that went to China late last year. While there she met with executives from China’s lead film body SARFT and a number of industry outfits including Galloping Horse, Emperor, Media Asia and Huayi Bros.
Nevill told Screen after today’s London BFI Roadshow event that she saw co-productions – which aren’t subject to China’s strict import quotas - as one of the best ways to improve UK presence in the Chinese film market.
During the presentation earlier in the day BFI head of international Isabel Davis had revealed that China, Brazil and the US were among ‘Tier One’ international priorities for the BFI. Australia, France and Germany made up Tier 2.
Nevill also told the industry audience that the BFI welcomes industry feedback on its performance and would be carrying out a concerted drive for feedback on that performance to date in mid-2015. It has set itself a hefty 80% approval rating target.
Josh Berger, president and managing director, Warner Bros. Entertainment UK, Ireland and Spain, told industry that the BFI’s endeavours are already” bearing fruit”: “We are all living through a very successful moment in UK film, for indigenous and inward investment films.”