Curtain call for first SCO Film Festival
On the closing night, the Chinese movie Enter the Forbidden City and Mina Walking from Afghanistan jointly won the best picture prize of the Golden Seagull Awards, the festival's top honor. Yosef Baraki, the filmmaker behind Mina Walking-a 110-minute tale of a 12-year-old Afghan street seller named Mina-took home the award for best director.
Directed by veteran filmmaker Hu Mei and starring actress Ma Yili, Enter the Forbidden City recounts the rise of Peking Opera under the reign of emperor Qianlong during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). It was also the opening film of the festival.
Nearly 60 movies were screened more than 260 times in 10 cinemas around Qingdao, Shandong province, for nearly 50,000 people during the five-day festival.
"It was the first time that most of the movies had been screened in China. It gives Chinese audiences a chance to see films with unique characteristics that represent the respective countries' cinematic culture," says Sun Xianghui, director of the China Film Archive.
"Some films from Afghanistan were widely praised by the selection panel. These movies revealed an authentic, modern country that is quite different from the image of Afghanistan depicted in most Western movies," says Sun.