Festival to show more than 160 films.

The first Beijing International Film Festival (BJIFF) has selected Russian war film Brest Fortress by Alexander Kott and Donnie Yen starring martial arts film The Lost Bladesman as opening films.

The festival, which will be officially opened on April 23 at Beijing’s National Centre for the Performing Arts, starts with screenings tonight of the two films at Beijing’s Saga Cinema. 

Having its world premiere in Beijing, The Lost Bladesman is directed by Alan Mak and Felix Chong and tells the story of ancient martial arts general struggling between love and loyalty. Originally set to be released on April 28, Beijing cinema managers estimated that the film would generate box office takings of more than $60m (RMB400m).

BJIFF organizers said the screening section would showcase 160 films from 42 countries, with 2011 Oscar nominated films such as True Grit andThe King’s Speech enjoying mainland China premieres. However, the line-up is yet to be finalised due to late arrivals of film copies.

Meanwhile, BJIFF announced a new competition “See the world through films” which is a documentary short film contest. 20 nominees were announced yesterday in Beijing including Oscar-winning Ruby Yang’s A Moment in Time, Together by Chinese filmmaker Gu Changwei about three film actors with HIV and Taiwanese Su Che-hsien’s Hip-hop Storm.

The first BJIFF, to be held from April 23 to April 28 at Beijing Hotel, was not known to have a competition session until the announcement yesterday.