Film Festivals and Film Awards in China: History, Configuration, and the Transnational Field of Legitimation

Friday, 20 July 2018: 11:00
Oral Presentation
Seio NAKAJIMA, Waseda University, Japan
Film festivals are one of important mechanisms through which the fields of film production and consumption are structured and related to each other. This paper—by analyzing their history and configuration as a “film festival field”—examines the government-sponsored, “official” Chinese film festivals including the Shanghai International Film Festival, Changchun Film Festival, and Beijing International Film Festival, as well as government-approved film awards such as the Golden Rooster Awards, Huabiao Awards, and Hundred Flowers Awards. 1) How and when did the festivals and awards come into existence? 2) What is the configuration (i.e., numbers and types) of the official film festivals and awards in China? 3) What are the organizational and institutional bases of the film festivals and awards (who sponsors, who organizes, who gives money, etc.), as well as different criteria of legitimation (e.g., Hundred Flowers Awards for popularity, Golden Rooster Awards for professional legitimation [film critics, filmmakers, film historians, etc.], and Huabiao Awards for political legitimation by the government)? 4) How are the Chinese film festivals connected to international film festivals abroad with what sort of consequences? Contra the widely shared image of official Chinese film festivals as sites of narrowly national political correctness, I show the dynamism and multiplicity of logics—at times even contradictory—within the world of official Chinese film festivals and awards. Moreover, official festivals—Shanghai and Beijing International Film Festivals in particular—have recently established agreements on exchanges of personnel and film works with international film festivals in Asia (e.g., Tokyo International Film Festival) and beyond (e.g., Venice International Film Festival; Hawaii International Film Festival). In sum, this paper examines the history, configuration, and legitimation of official Chinese film festivals—important sites that structure domestic markets for Chinese cinema—which are increasingly shaped by the broader, transnational fields of film festivals beyond China.