Chinese stars Gong Li, Jackie Chan, Aaron Kwok and Fan Bingbing turned out for the closing night of the 10th Shanghai International Film Festival (SIFF), which wrapped with the Jin Jue awards and a screening of Hou Hsiao-hsien's Flight Of The Red Balloon.

German feature According To The Plan, directed by Franziska Meletzky, was awarded best film and best actress, while Tian Zhuangzhuang's The Go Master picked up best director and cinematography (see full list of winners below).

This year's 10th anniversary edition marked a big step up in the ambitions of the festival, which is striving to become more international, and introduced both a film market and a projects market for the first time this year.

Chinese industry heavyweights, such as jury president Chen Kaige and Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-hsien, echoed the thoughts of many when they told local press that there is still a long way to go for the festival to become a truly mature, international event. However, festival delegates also agreed that this year's edition was a step in the right direction.

Although it wrestles with generally weak programming and the constraints of being organised by state-owned behemoth the Shanghai Media Group, the festival has a strong line-up of seminars and other industry confabs. And as the major film festival in one of the world's fastest-growing markets, it continues to draw a wide array of international film execs.

It also has a new managing director, Tang Lijune, who comes from a TV sales background and will spend the next year drumming up support on the international film festival circuit.

The two new events - the SIFF Film Market and projects market 'China Film Pitch and Catch' - had a shaky start, but in offering access to Chinese filmmakers and buyers, could have potential.

Although little business was concluded during the two-day film market (June 17-19), talks continued after it wrapped, and SIFF organisers claim that negotiations are on-going for sales on 120 Chinese and 25 foreign titles. These include 13 projects from the European Producers' Club which held a day of screenings.

'The actual execution may not be like in A-rated film festivals. But it's a good start,' said Zhou Tiedong, president of China Film Promotion International, commenting on the film market.

In the China Film Pitch and Catch, six Chinese projects and two Japanese projects are close to financing deals, according to SIFF organisers.

'We like to see ourselves as the incubator of the Chinese film industry, making SIFF a platform to develop new talents and new film projects,' said SIFF director Tang Lijune.

Tang added that the festival is now opening for entries for the 2008 China Film Pitch and Catch.

This year's ticket sales were strong, reaching $650,000 (RMB5m) two days before the closing, and surpassing last year's total. However, festival delegates had a frustrating time getting into screenings which were often rescheduled or cancelled without notice. In addition, some of the 'sold out' films ended up screening to half-empty halls.


Best Film: According To The Plan, dir: Franziska Meletzky (Germany)

Jury Grand Prix: The New Man, dir: Klaus Haro (Sweden/Finland)

Best Director: Tian Zhuangzhuang, The Go Master (China)

Best Actor: Juan Jose Ballesta, Doghead (Spain)

Best Actress: Corinna Harfouch, Dagmar Manzel, Kirsten Block and Christine Schorn, According To The Plan (Germany)

Best Screenplay: Shemi Zarhin, Aviva My Love (Israel)

Best Cinematography: Wang Yu, The Go Master (China)

Best Music: Isao Tomita, Love And Honour (Japan)

Special Award of the 10th SIFF: The Knot, dir: Yin Li (China)