The Canada China International Film Festival is back for a sixth hybrid edition

The festival embraces culture through the art of cinema

The opening event of the Canada-China International Film Festival featured performing artists, musicians and dancers. Photo Eva Wilson

The sixth edition of the Canada China International Film Festival brings back live cinema in an effort to help build a cultural bridge between Canadian and Chinese arts. Selected Canadian and Chinese films will be shown to Montrealers online and in person from October 22 to November 30.

Over the past six years, the CCIFF has raised awareness of cultural diversity through cinema at its annual fall screenings. The festival consists of a diverse lineup of films made in Canada and China.

There are many categories to submit your own film to, including shorts, feature films, TV series, and student-made films. Fifteen prizes will be awarded to the winning films. Online movies are free for everyone to watch on the Smart Cinema US app until November 30.

The four films presented in person will accompany the speeches of filmmakers, actors and government officials. Film screenings take place in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. In recent years, films have also been screened in China, but not this year, due to COVID-19 restrictions.

“It’s a film festival, but it’s also a dialogue between the two cultures through art, so new media is an integral part of it,” said Yanis Mohamed, entrepreneur and media marketing specialist at CCIFF.

The festival was organized and sponsored with the help of Canada China Art Tech, an innovative arts and technology company. During the opening event, on Friday October 22, four VR films were screened, including 360 films and interactive films. The grand opening also featured performance artists, musicians and dancers. Roger Sinha, a dancer using projection technology developed by Canada China art tech, performed at the opening.

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The opening event of the Canada-China International Film Festival kicked off the festival on October 22. Photo Eva Wilson

“This film festival is combined with theater and technology, it’s really interesting, and I feel like the future is really big,” said Xinkun Dai.

Dai is a filmmaker, video editor and media director for CCIFF. One of her films premiered at the second edition of the festival and she has been working at CCIFF since its debut in 2016. She mentioned that the importance of the film festival has grown in unusual ways, which was taken up by other CCIFF members.

“I think beyond politics, […] [the CCIFF] establishes a cultural bridge between the two countries, so that the two countries and cultures get to know each other better, ”Mohamed said. “All the comments are always overwhelmingly positive, but this year we were starting to notice a few, I would say angry comments, and things a little disrespectful. So I think a little open dialogue between countries is important now.

“It’s a film festival, but it’s also a dialogue between the two cultures through art.
– Yanis Mohamed

One of the documentaries presented at CCIFF this year is Save Chinatown by Jimmy Chan. He deals with the issues of gentrification and racism in Montreal’s Chinatown. Chan is deeply involved in supporting the Chinatown community. During the pandemic, Chan provided and organized a volunteer security team to protect Chinatown from an increase in hate crimes during the pandemic. He also gave free meals to those in need at his restaurant, the Wok Cafe.

“We all need to learn about each other’s culture, respect the culture of others, where they come from. Regardless of their color, their ethnicity, we have to respect who they are. Before anyone [makes] all judgment, judgment is actually on yourself, you have to do the right thing, be respectful, ”Chan said. “So that’s what the documentary is about. […] This documentary, I am very happy to say it, has changed people’s lives.

He hopes to show people the realities of Montreal’s Chinatown and tell his story. “A lot of [people interviewed] told me that my documentary actually created a platform for them to share their story with the world, and they felt so much better that they released [the weight] on their shoulders that they carried all their lives, and now it’s gone, ”Chan said.

Currently underway, this year’s CCIFF hopes to strengthen the bond between Canada and China, as well as celebrate art and culture, with the many films they have made available to the public.

Gerald R. Schneider

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