Shanghai Film Festival Jury Weighs in on Unique Process of Moviemaking: ‘Each Film Is a Rejection of the Previous One’

Along with a red-carpet opening ceremony, a press conference with the members of the main competition jury is a staple event of major film festivals and the 26th edition of the Shanghai International Film Festival kicked off in traditional form on Friday.

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Along with Vietnam-French director Tran Anh Hung, previously revealed as jury president, the other members of the decisive committee this year are: Australian director and screenwriter Rolf de Heer; German director Matthias Glasner; Hong Kong actor Tony Leung Ka Fai; Argentinian director Santiago Mitre; Chinese director Sonthar Gyal; and, the jury’s only woman, star actor Zhou Xun.

A packed audience lobbed familiar questions about the criteria they jurors would employ to decide the Golden Goblet prize winners, and what informs those views.

Tran, who is based largely in France, rejected the idea of an East-West clash of sensibilities. “Film is its own language, and I try to communicate with you in this language. Although I am Asian, I am a filmmaker, and I will not be different from other people in this respect. We live in the same world, and we have the same path to contact different cultures and countries,” he said.

De Heer emphasized the notion that each film is a prototype. “Making films is actually a very difficult thing to do, and each film is a rejection of the previous one, or an attempt to be different. It’s not really worth it to present the same style in every film,” he said. He added that he had not settled on his next picture. “I’ll think about it when I get back to Australia.”

“Film is always an art, so every time after shooting a film, there will be a little regret for me,” said Leung. But he Was also the most expansive on the process of filmmaking. “A film is a collective creation. The thing I dislike the most is a director who changes the script, or directors who don’t have a script. No matter [how good the] photography, actors or cinematography, it is difficult to make the whole film perfect that without a script. Actors, especially, rely on a complete script.

Then I can call on my own experience to work within a good script and a good role. As an actor, I must accumulate and absorb the experiences of daily life, be able to see things through other people’s eyes, and store these as references for creating roles in the future.

Zhou, who volunteered to be a Shanghai city guide to the other members of the jury, said she “looked forward to the shocks and surprise that the nominated movies may offer.”

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