What to Expect From the 2022 Beijing International Film Festival

Chinese contenders for the Tiantan Awards include a film set in the Mongolian prairie and another about an elderly mother-daughter duo

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5:54 PM HKT, Fri August 12, 2022 2 mins read

A cosmopolitan, week-long affair, the 12th Beijing International Film Festival (BJIFF) runs from August 13 to 20. Here’s what to expect from this year’s event, which champions the theme ‘We Unitedly Advance.

Needless to say, film screenings are BJIFF’s biggest draw. The lineup will strike a balance between new submissions and rescreenings of classics by emerging filmmakers from around the world.

The festival is also well-attended and closely watched for its main competition: the Tiantan Awards will be held during its closing ceremony on August 20. The 10 award categories are: Best Feature Film, Best Director, Best Artistic Contribution, Best Leading Actor, Best Leading Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography, and Best Musical.

beijing international film festival

BJIFF’s promotional poster. Image via Weibo

Between 13 to 17 films are shortlisted for the award annually, and this year is no different; 16 films are in the running to make history.

International titles include:

  • Turkish crime drama Anatolian Leopard
  • American film Call Jane
  • Thai action comedy Fast & Feel Love
  • French film Full Time
  • Indian crime mystery Jai Bhim
  • Indian film Sardar Udham
  • Finnish film The Blind Man Who Did Not Want To See Titanic
  • German/Iraqi/Qatari co-production film The Exam
  • French film The Family, Spanish comedy The Good Boss
  • Swiss film Unrest
  • Bolivian/Uruguayan/French co-production film Utama.

Furthermore, four Chinese films have been shortlisted for the 2022 Tiantan Awards:

In Search of Lost Time


Promotional poster for In Search of Lost Time. Image via IMDB

Directed by Hong Kong filmmaker Derek Yee, the 120-minute feature film is based on true historical events that unfolded in the late 1950s. To save a group of children in South China during the Great Chinese Famine, the political party committee and government officials of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region arranged for nearly 3,000 orphans in the Mongolian prairie to be adopted by local pastoral workers.

Off the Stage


Promotional poster for Off the Stage. Image via IMDB

Adapted from author Ai Wei’s novel Past, this film follows a famous Yue opera actress. After becoming tremendously ill, she returns home to see her three children for the final time. Two of her sons remain coldly indifferent to their mother’s plight, and past events gradually come to light.

Song of Spring


Promotional poster for Songs of Spring. Image via IMDB

Song of Spring is an unexpected and heartbreaking tale of an 85-year-old mother and her 65-year-old daughter with Alzheimer’s disease. The mother and daughter are respectively played by veteran actresses Wu Yanshu and Xi Meijuan.

Kong & Jigme


Promotional poster for Kong & Jigme. Image via IMDB

Based on a true story, Kong & Jigme is about a government official, who has just moved to Tibet, and a translator who become lifelong friends.

Recent years have seen a proliferation of films set in Tibet or by Tibetan filmmakers. Not long ago, Tibetan director Jigme Tringly’s genre film One and Four took home some of the top awards at the 16th FIRST International Film Festival.

But Wait, There’s More!

As part of BJIFF’s Beijing Film Panorama section, more than 100 standout Chinese and foreign films will be shown in 18 cinemas across the city from August 12 to 21. Qinhuangdao, a port city in northern China, will also see special beach screening.

Additionally, the Forward Future Section, which encourages “exchange and communication among young filmmakers all over the world,” has received nearly 600 film submissions from 88 different countries. Selected by a panel of three established filmmakers (Chinese producer Ning Ying, Malaysian filmmaker Tan Chui Mui, and Estonian director Martti Helde), 16 out of the 500 films will compete for seven honors.

Based outside of Beijing? From August 10 to 23, you can stream more than 100 films on Chinese platform iQIYI.

Click here to stream selected films from BJIFF 2022.

Cover image via BJIFF

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