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Only in did a significant rival to the Shanghai festival emerge, the staterun Beijing International Film Festival, reflecting the capital's primary role in contemporary media, and it has since gained worldwide attention. Former president Hu Jintao emphasized the importance of Chinese culture and the cultural industries 'as part of the soft power of our country to better guarantee the people's basic cultural rights and interests'. These government-sanctioned film festivals respond to this state goal, albeit for divergent constituencies. Western critics, nonetheless, have criticized both the SIFF and, to a lesser extent, the BJIFF as not quite up to the standard of international film festivals in their selection of films and use of celebrities.
According to film historian Chris Berry, the SIFF was addressing the local Chinese population and audience rather than the international critics. The SIFF is more a showcase for the Chinese to see themselves as ascending to the global stage than an event that follows the general contours and expectations of the western-oriented international film festival circuit. Both highlight the iconic tourist features of these areas rather than engage wider cinematic dialogues. Yet, off the map of state-defined creativity, since the early s, grassroots-level independent film festivals also have emerged in culturally vibrant cities such as Kunming Yunnan Multi Culture Visual Festival, documentary biennale , Nanjing China Independent Film Festival and Beijing China Documentary Film Festival; Beijing Independent Film Festival , greatly powered by the booming local cinephile cultures.
These festivals have used the Chinese term dianyingzhan, equivalent to those of 'forum' or 'exchange week', since a dianyingjie has to be approved by the government.
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They have attracted cinephiles, film scholars, critics, journalists and even buyers worldwide, since their programming promises an updated and exciting vision of contemporary Chinese films, with proportionally larger number of independent works screened. Many western film festivals, in fact, have looked towards these festivals to locate Chinese films for their programmes.
One of its primary aims is to encourage the diverse communities in Yunnan to document their lives. Other than these general independent festivals, Beijing also has hosted a Queer Film Festival since , although it was forced off the Beijing University campus in and closed completely for the year in Even though many of these festivals have existed relatively quietly without much government interference, in the last two years, the government has taken a harsher approach.
The Chinese Independent Film Festival, held annually in Nanjing since , was severely curtailed in there was no real festival, so jury members watched the films on their own and awarded the prizes in their own mini-ceremony Anon. In Beijing, the authorities cut the electricity of the Beijing Independent Film Festival in around screenings critical of cancer in Chinese villages, as well as a film by activist Ai Weiwei, forcing the organizers and audience to find other private places for screenings; YunFest was completely closed by authorities in Anon.
On the other hand, the Beijing Queer Film Festival, despite problems in the past, met no government interference in In Taiwan the Republic of China , there are all different kinds of film festivals; however, few have gained international stature, embodying the complex status of Taiwan as an economic power of complicated political claims.
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