Started as a film forum in 2006, the festival over the years has grown to be one of the most important events for China’s independent films, but also has attracted the attention of authorities eager to regulate free speech.
BEIJING (AP) — Chinese authorities blocked an annual independent film festival from opening on Saturday, said organizers of an event that has become a rare and influential venue for the showing of films that could be critical of the government.
“It’s very clear that the Xi Jinping regime is determined to control the ideological realm, which has not been emphasized so much for a long time.”
— Chris Berry, professor of film studies at King’s College London
The Beijing Independent Film Festival’s artistic director, Wang Hongwei, and executive director, Fan Rong, said authorities had forced the cancellation of the event, which was scheduled to run through Aug. 31. Wang and Fan are with the Li Xianting Film Fund, the festival’s organizer.
— Emma Chibulu (@chibulu) August 22, 2014
Li Xianting, founder of the film fund and a movie critic, posted memos on social media over the past week saying that state security personnel had been pressuring him to cancel the festival and that he had come under police surveillance. Both Wang and Fan verified the authenticity of Li’s posts. Read the rest of this entry »