China's Largest Independent Film Festival Suspends Operations 'indefinitely'

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One of China's longest-running film festivals will be shutting its doors indefinitely because the organisers have claimed censorship by Chinese authorities.

Written By Shubham Bose | Mumbai | Updated On:
Organizers cite hostile environment for independent films

One of China's longest-running film festivals will be shutting its doors ''indefinitely'' because the organisers have claimed that in today's environment it has become practically ''impossible'' to hold an independent film festival, according to media reports. The China Independent Film Festival (CIFF) has been operating since 2003.

Film festival closes amidst a hostile environment

Since 2003 the film festival has held 14 sessions. The announcement was made by the organisers on December 9. The organisers have not details as to the deeper meaning of their words or why exactly they will be shutting down but speculators believe that growing media censorship on content that the Chinese government believes goes against socialist core values may be a cause, as regulators have in recent years begun their crackdown.

Since its founding, CIFF has sowed over 1,000 films and documentaries. They had over the years touch many sensitive topics from homosexuality to the relocation of residents under the Three Gorges dam project. A professor from Beijing Film Academy, and a core organiser of CIFF, Zhang Xianmin said that China has regressed back 20 years and the Communist Party of China was just operating like normal and stifling any room or opportunity for independent films.

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Zhang Xianmin also added that if the film festival had gone commercial then they might have been able to survive a bit longer. The CIFF has a history of being challenged by the Chinese authorities in the past. The film festival uses to be organised by the Li Xianting Film Fund. In 2014 the organisers had to cancel the 11th edition of the festival after the authorities detained the organisers and forced them to write statements claiming that they would be cancelling the festival.

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Meanwhile, it was recently announced that British actor Jeremy Irons will head the jury at the Berlin International Film Festival next month. Irons will be the jury president at the festival's 70th edition, running from February 20 to March 1. Other members of the jury haven't yet been named.

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