The 2019 Beijing Int’l Film Festival jury meets the press
CGTN

It is a tradition for the Beijing International Film Festival (BJIFF) to have a jury made with judges from diverse cultures and backgrounds, and two days before this year's event kicks off, the jury finally gathered in Beijing to make their appearance in front of journalists covering the event.

Rob Minkoff, the American director of the Oscar-winning animation film “The Lion King”, leads the jury this year. As a forerunner in the Western film industry who has been looking eastwards for many years, Minkoff said that he is glad to be here in Beijing, which is both the nation's capital and a significant city in the Chinese film industry.

Minkoff has directed several beloved animation films, and many of them have enjoyed fame among the Chinese audience as well, such as the “Stuart Little” movies and “Mr. Peabody & Sherman”. He also directed "The Forbidden Kingdom" in 2008, which starred Jackie Chan and Jet Li.

Jury chief Rob Minkoff attend the press conference. /Photo via BJIFF

Jury chief Rob Minkoff attend the press conference. /Photo via BJIFF

Currently he has been preparing the animated film “Wolf Totem”, which is based on a hit Chinese novel. For him, the diverse cultural backgrounds of the nominated films for Tiantan Awards, and the international lineup of jury are what make the BJIFF unique.

The jury this year sees seven members from six countries, including Chilean director Silvio Gayoqi, Chinese director Cao Baoping, Russian director Sergei Dvortskoy, Chinese actress Carina Lau, Iranian director Majid Makidi and British director Simon West.

“It is impossible to make films with single money from a single country any longer,” Russian director Sergei Dvortskoy said at the press conference. He mentioned that he has enjoyed making films with collaborators from different cultures and countries.

Members of the 9th Beijing International Film Festival pose for a photo at Beijing Hotel. /Photo via BJIFF

Members of the 9th Beijing International Film Festival pose for a photo at Beijing Hotel. /Photo via BJIFF

Director Dvortskoy said he could not imagine the world without cooperatively developed films any more, and his 2018 film “Ayka” - an internationally co-developed movie - is set to be released in China as well.

It is the second time for Chilean director Silvio Gayoqi has attended the BJIFF, though this is his first time as a jury member.

“I came here for the screening the first time, during which I felt nervous. This year, as a jury member, I'm here to watch films and much more relaxed,” said the director. He is ready to enjoy the whole event, and of course, tonnes of films.

China's Carina Lau, best known for her work in Hong Kong, is the only actress and female member of the jury. She said that it is an honor to be at the ninth BJIFF.

British Director Simon West and Chinese Hong Kong actress Carina Lau attend the press conference. /Photo via BJIFF

British Director Simon West and Chinese Hong Kong actress Carina Lau attend the press conference. /Photo via BJIFF

Lau said that her female identity could bring a more sensitive and different perspective to the jury, which she believes could help to balance the rational viewpoints of her peers in the jury.

Chinese director Cao Baoping, as the only Chinese director at the jury, said that the most important job of the jury during the week is to find the good films. Cao is an influential figure in Chinese film circles as well, with several of his crime films, including “The Dead End”, “Cock and Bull” and “The Equation of Love and Death” being well received in China. The latter won him a Best New Director award at the San Sebastian International Film Festival in 2008.

775 films from 85 countries and regions are being screened at the BJIFF this year, with 15 of them are nominated to run for the Tiantan Awards. The jury will scrutinize the films during the next week and finally decide the winners of 10 categories.

(Copy edited by Josh McNally)