The 1st Netpac Film Week was held Nov 5-8, 2019 at the Beijing Film Academy (BFA). Organised by veteran filmmaker Prof Xie Fei and film researcher, Wang Yao, the event was a first step to introduce the work of NETPAC in promoting the cinemas of Asia.
Attended by Advisory Board Member, Wong Tuck Cheong, Co-Vice President, Bina Paul and Joint President, Philip Cheah, the event was a surprisingly emotional meeting as Prof Xie had gathered six Chinese filmmakers who had won the NETPAC award at the beginning of their careers.
They included Brandon Qiu Sheng, whose debut feature, Suburban Birds (2019) took two NETPAC awards last year as well as China’s most famous independent director, Jia Zhang Ke, who won the NETPAC award for his debut, Xiao Wu (Pickpocket, 1997). In NETPAC’s 25-year history, this was the first occasion that the impact of the award could be witnessed.
Other than a film programme of about 12 titles, there was two days of seminars. Among the talks given was one by Advisory Board Member Wong who spoke about the parallel between China’s Belt and Road Initiative and the network of festivals hosting the NETPAC award. Both paths seemed similar in direction and spread.
One of the consequences of this meeting is a follow up by Prof Xie who has proposed a BFA-NETPAC sidebar of NETPAC award winners at festivals. The details of this initiative is currently being sorted out.
-- Philip Cheah