Despite the centenary ofChinese cinema being the main theme of this year's 8th ShanghaiInternational Film Festival (SIFF) (June 11-19), no Chinese film has beenselected for its main competition.

In each of the pasteditions, at least one Chinese film has been in the running for the Jin Jueprize, one of China's top film honours.

This year, 15 films from 12countries are competing, with France and Canada receiving the most nominations.Chinese filmmaker Wu Tianming (King of Masks) will chair the jury.

As if to make up for thelack of local films in the Jin Jue section, two Chinese films -MongolianPingpong and The Story of Xiao Yan - are short-listed for the AsianNew Talent section, which was launched last year as an initiative to encourageand discover new Asian talents. This year, 10 films from Asia and the MiddleEast are vying for best film and best director.

While SIFF is the onlyinternational film festival in China, it has been criticised for its lack ofhigh quality films. But Chen Xiaomeng, executive vice secretary general of thefestival's organising committee, says that this year's programme will beimproved. 'We received a high number of 522 entries for consideration. Theselection committee after two months' deliberation picked the best of more than200 films from 49 countries for screening.'

In line with the celebrationof the 100th year of Chinese cinema, Chen says, 'The Festival will be opened bya Chinese film. A record of 40-odd Chinese films produced last year and earlythis year will be screened together with 13 classics Chinese films from1922-1960s.'

A full programme line-up,including the opening and closing films, will be unveiled in early June.

In competition for theJin Jue awards:
Maurice Barthelemy's The Father(France)
Georgy Shengeliva's Runaway Skidding (Russia)
Vincenzo Verdecchi's Now and Forever (Italy)
Gary Yates' Niagara Motel (Canada)
Francis Leclerc's Looking for Alexander (Canada)
Vilsoni Hereniko's The Land has Eyes (US/Fiji)
Brad M Gann's In My Father's Den (New Zealand)
Leonel Vieira's A Shot in the Dark (Portugal/Brazil)
Gustavo Corrado's Garua (Argentina)
Claes Olsson's Shades of Happiness (Finland)
Ho Quang Minh's A Time Far Past (Vietnam/France)
Eric Toledano and Olivier Nakache's Just Friends (France)
Rumle Hammerich's Young Andersen (Denmark)
Peter Lichtefeld's Future Beach (Germany)
Mitsuhiro Mihara's The Village Album (Japan)

In competition for the Asian New Talent awards:
Hassan Yektapanah's Story Undone (Iran)
Ning Hao's Mongolian Pingpong (China)
Makoto Shinkai's The Place Promised in our Early Days (Japan)
Ravi Bharwani's The Rainmaker (Indonesia)
Gidi Dar's Ushipizin (Israel)
Barbara Wong's Six Strong Guys (Hong Kong)
Anup Kurian's Manasarovar (India)
Fang Gangliang's The Story of Xiao Yan (China)
Itthisoontorn Vichailak's The Overture (Thailand)
Ahn Kwon-tae's My Brother (Korea)