Experience the glitz and glamor of the Shanghai International Film Festival - Reuters News Agency

Experience the glitz and glamor of the Shanghai International Film Festival

Discover China’s most influential cinematographic events


By Sandra Sparrowhawk | Jun 11, 2019

Hosted in Shanghai – China’s largest financial center and home to one of the country’s most important seaports – this key industry event features an impressive number of movie screenings and premieres year after year, each more grandiose than the one before.

Along with the Tokyo International Film Festival, the SIFF is one of the largest film festivals in Asia and China’s only competitive feature film festival. Founded in 1993, the Shanghai International Film Festival is held annually over ten days to promote the development and growth of the Chinese film industry.

Aside from film screenings and premieres, the SIFF offers its visitors a range of non-screening activities, such as a four-day film forum, a three-day film market as well as numerous award galas and exhibitions.


The first Shanghai International Film Festival (October 7th – 14th, 1993), was the result of an appeal by an older generation of Chinese filmmakers. It didn’t take long for the SIFF to be approved by the State Council of the People’s Republic of China as well as recognized by the International Federation of Film Producers Association, making it the only A-category film festival in China and hence, triumphant over its closest competitor: The in 2011 launched Beijing International Film Festival.

Since its launch in 1993, the festival has attracted an assortment of national and international A-list celebrities, including: Nicole Kidman, Jason Statham, Hugh Grant and Jackie Chan.


At the 21st Shanghai International Film Festival in 2018, a total of 492 Chinese and foreign films were screened at 45 cinemas in Shanghai, with a record-breaking 468,178 tickets purchased by viewers – up by 40,000 tickets from 2017!

Given China’s rising economic growth, along with its strengthening international influence and growing diaspora, its domestic films have sparked interest from people around the globe.

Cannes and Shanghai to bridge cultures


Variety reported Cannes’ Marché du Film director Jérôme Paillard advocating for  better mutual understanding between France and China in order to bridge the cultural divide at a press conference organized by the SIFF ahead of its 22nd edition.

“The truth is that the exchange between China and the rest of the world certainly has huge potential, but is not yet in a mature situation. We see many reasons – of course the culture is different, and of course subjects [don’t always work as well] in different places. The Chinese market is so huge that perhaps it’s not a top priority for Chinese filmmakers to go abroad. We see a need to develop those collaborations.”

“I think the [most important thing] is we both get a better understanding of how we work in each country, since the ways to finance, to write and to develop are very, very different in China and in other countries.”


Last year, SIFF highlighted its unique role in promoting the prosperity of the socialist film culture in the new era and creating a better future for the public.

“The poster exhibition and film screenings held in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the reform and opening-up, not only showed the artistic accumulation and achievements of China’s films over the last forty years, but also made filmmakers and audiences come to know the past, grasp the present and face the future, so as to stick to their original aspirations, strengthen cultural confidence, and jointly create a better future.”

The 22nd Shanghai International Film Festival will take place from June 15th – 24th 2019 at the Shanghai Grand Theatre.