Marco Mueller

Source: HIIFF

Marco Mueller

Marco Mueller, former director of Venice, Rome and Locarno film festivals, has been appointed artistic director of China’s Hainan Island International Film Festival (HIIFF).

Mueller joins ahead of HAIFF’s fourth edition, which is set to run December 3-10 in the city of Sanya on the southern end of Hainan Island, known for its tropical beach resorts.

The festival veteran has been based in China since 2021, running the Film Art Research Centre of Shanghai University and teaching at Shanghai Film Academy. He was previously festival director at China’s Pingyao International Film Festival and founded the Macao International Film Festival and Awards in 2016.

“With the 2022 edition of HIIFF, there is a new artistic director but the guidelines remain the same,” Mueller told Screen. “HIIFF wishes to continue to offer to multiple groups of viewers from China a dynamic selection of titles that will include young and confirmed artists, respected film makers, auteur cinema and commercial but original works, genre films but special, restored classics and rediscovered old films. To build upon the memory of cinema and its traditions will continue to be a necessity.”

The programme has yet to be announced but the festival said it had received 3,761 submissions from 116 countries and regions, and plans to screen more than 100 films across six strands: Gala, Fest Best, Asian New Director, Panorama, New Horizons and Classics.

A shortlist of 12 features, eight documentaries and 12 shorts will compete for the festival’s Golden Coconut awards, which will name a best picture, director and special jury prize among others.

The festival will also host public screenings on other parts of the island under the banners Around the Island and Screening by the Sea.

On the industry front, the H!Action Project Market, H!Market Best Shooting Location Recommendation Conference and masterclasses will return. Film educator Professor Yu Li will also join the festival as director of the film market, which will explore trends in documentary, the development of the Chinese children’s film industry and film technology.

Mueller added: “The multiple activities of the HIIFF should confirm Hainan as a hub for exchanges in all fields: creativity, cultural engines, finance and distribution – a focal point that can only exist in China, where things are happening faster than in most other Asian regions.

“HIIFF also wishes to assume the role of a permanent cinematheque, nourishing the disappearing film culture and trying in every way to extend outside the days of the event, through the whole year and in the whole island, the audience’s excitement for all kinds of cinematic experiences.”

HIIFF is co-hosted by the China Media Group and the People’s Government of Hainan Province.