Preview – Chinese Visual Festival 2017, May 2-11


The 7th Chinese Visual Festival (CVF) will be held in London from May 2nd – 11th at BFI Southbank, the Bertha DocHouse screen at Curzon Bloomsbury and King’s College London. This year’s festival builds on the success of previous editions, again bringing the very best in the cinema and art of the Chinese speaking world to the UK.

CVF this year welcomes Ju Anqi, hailed as a pioneer among China’s new generation of experimental filmmakers. Ju Anqi will be opening the festival at BFI Southbank on 2nd May, in conversation with Tony Rayns and presenting the UK premiere of his stunning latest work Drill Man, before returning to the BFI Southbank the following night to screen his multiple award-winning modern classic Poet on a Business Trip, as well as hosting a rare screening of his debut There’s a Strong Wind in Beijing at King’s College London, which caused a huge stir on its original release back in 2000.

The festival has scored another major coup in bringing the remarkable independent documentary maker Wen Hai to London, known for his searching films exploring the experiences of workers in China and other social issues. Taking part in a special all-day conference on The Future of Chinese Independent Cinema along with other experts and scholars, including Zhang Xianmin and Ma Ran, Wen Hai will also be introducing the UK premiere of his new film We the Workers, which recently played to praise at International Film Festival Rotterdam and other events, in addition to screening and discussing its predecessor We.

As well as Cinema Comrade, the festival’s regular LGBTQ session and its second session in partnership with Hong Kong Fresh Wave, featuring young directors visiting from Hong Kong, this year has several events focusing on some of the most pressing issues from around the Chinese language speaking world, including Family Planning in China, in partnership with the Thomson Reuters Foundation, featuring short films and a panel discussion with their directors. CVF is also proud to be hosting a special programme of award-winning animation from one of the leading institutes of animation in China, Communication University of China (CUC). Curated by the two mentors Ai Shengying and Luan Lian, who themselves are acclaimed animation filmmakers, this session presents a selection of animations from CUC students which have won various international awards.


In addition to closing night film, Midi Z’s stunning The Road to Mandalay, the festival will also screen some of the very best in new cutting edge Chinese language cinema, including Crosscurrent, My Land, 500m 800m and Children are not afraid of Death, Children are afraid of Ghosts. 2017 promises to be the biggest and most exciting year yet for Chinese Visual Festival, underlining the festival’s growing reputation as a key event in London’s cultural calendar.

Festival Director James Mudge commented “It’s great to be back for our seventh year, and I really think 2017 is our strongest edition yet. As well as all the fantastic premieres and award-winning films we’re giving our audience the rare chance to catch on the big screen, I’m particularly pleased to be welcoming Ju Anqi and Wen Hai to London, who I think are two of the most vital filmmakers and artists working in China today, both bringing challenging perspectives and techniques to their work – I really think audiences are going to enjoy hearing what they have to say about their experiences. There’s an exciting sense of momentum to Chinese language independent cinema over the last year, and I’m very happy indeed to be screening films like Crosscurrent and 500m 800m, as well as my personal favourites this year, The Road to Mandalay, and Children are not afraid of Death, Children are afraid of Ghosts, which really has to be seen to be believed”.

Tickets for the 2017 Chinese Visual Festival are on sale now. For more details and the full festival schedule visit the festival website.