What is the Beijing Student Film Festival?
The Beijing Student Film Festival (BSFF) was started in 1993 at Beijing Normal University and has since grown from a regional event into a prestigious annual national event involved major universities across China. During the year of 2005, being the centenary of cinema in China, students from one hundred elite universities will participate at the festivities. It is the only event that major Chinese film stars, directors, and other celebrities will come on their own expenses to face an audience of elite university students and since their films will be judged, criticized by this prized group.
There are award categories for Chinese feature films produced by major studios, TV films, and student short film competition in drama, documentary, and experimental. In 2004, animation/flash was another new addition. The judging is mainly based on the vote of the committee, which is composed of the student representatives from each campus plus twenty professionals, film teachers, or scholars. There are also audience ballot voting at each screening on campus, web-based voting, and cell phone messaging voting as various reference points. Starting in mid-April through early May, there are seminars, screenings, and interactive events with the professionals. Tens of thousands of university students will be immersed in the art form they enjoy and at the price they can afford. Best of all, their viewpoints will be heard, and their votes count. No wonder the popularity of BSFF has exploded and is the most anticipated event on campus during springtime. BSFF makes sure all participating universities will have a copy of every film entrant (in 35mm) so it is indeed a national festival. To a lot of students, the screening at BSFF is their first cinematic experience, which gives them a taste of the real thing.
All told, over one million students have participated in the past eleven years. Since the inception six years ago, the Student Short Film Category has grown from twenty entries to over three hundred in 2004, now mostly in DV format, which has become the choice of young filmmakers in China.
The Rose Group, sponsor of the China-America Festival of Film and Culture (CAFFC), signed an agreement to finance a cross-cultural award and sponsored related panel discussion and activities at BSFF in 2005. Three winners from our inaugural film competition, along with film scholars and a representative from the American Film Institute was invited as guests to Beijing to interact with their Chinese counterparts.