China indie film festival cancels itself

With Ai Weiwei still missing in action, and dozens of other government undesirables, such as activists and rights lawyers also disappearing, it’s no wonder that the director of the Songzhuang Documentary Film Festival got cold feet.

Zhu Rikun told Chinese rag, The Global Times, that they had canceled the event, which was scheduled for early next month, because: “The overall situation was tense, and we had received a lot of pressure. We worried that the films to be shown would meet some problems in this environment and decided to cancel it.”

He did not elaborate on the referred to pressures.

UNCUT got in touch with an independent filmmaker who was planning on attending the festival. He asked us not to use his name.

“Although I had a feeling that it would be cancelled, I was still surprised when they actually did it,” he said, expressing disappointment.

I think it’s down to ideology. They don’t like people with diverging viewpoints coming together and watching these kinds of films. And neither do they want to let those people who have diverging viewpoints express their ideas.

The Global Times went on to cite an organizer for the festival as saying none of the films that were due to be shown were sensitive and most of them had already been shown at a festival in southern China in March this year.
This would have been the eighth incarnation of the festival which was started in 2003. It is held in the outskirts of Beijing in an artists’ district, a popular haunt for “sensitive” events.

The China Gay and Lesbian Film Festival is hoping to show a season of films in June. It remains to be seen if they will feel confident enough to go ahead.