#23 Running FIRST: The International Film Festival


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Song Wen, founder of the FIRST International Film Festival, discusses the history of one of China’s most promising festivals for the visual arts. Once in danger of being shut down by the authorities in Beijing, the festival has found a new home in China’s west — the provincial capital of Qinghai Province, Xining. This year, hundreds of films were screened to more than 30,000 audience members, and 19 budding directors emerged from a highly selective process to pitch their films to China’s film industry elites. In this episode, Song Wen explains how the festival has evolved from a minor student event to one of the most important cultural events in China’s still-maturing film industry.

6:24: So, you made a movie. What’s next?

9:14: Business models for film festivals

15:37: What are film companies looking for?

22:49: Interview in Mandarin begins



Song Wen 宋文 | FIRST International Film Festival founder

FIRST’s website | FIRST’s Weibo | FIRST’s public WeChat account: FIRSTdianyingzhan

And, as usual, your host, Aladin Farré.

Aladin’s LinkedIn | Aladin’s Twitter

Middle Earth is made by China Compass Productions. If you have a China-themed cultural project, please get in touch!

With thanks to Brenden Gonsalves for graphic design support.


Recommended watching:

Old Beast 老兽 (2017)

The Looming Storm 暴雪将至 (2017)

An Elephant Sitting Still 大象席地而坐 (2018)

Dying to Survive 我不是药神 (2018)

Mosaic Portrait 马赛克少女 (2019)