Made-in-China short films must secure approval to be screened overseas, says the country’s film regulator

by Admin
Made-in-China short films must secure approval to be screened overseas, says the country’s film regulator

SINGAPORE: Made-in-China short films must now obtain permits before they can be screened overseas, China’s film regulator announced on Thursday (Jul 4), two months after a Chinese movie screened abroad revived debate over the harsh measures taken during the country’s zero-COVID policy.

The submission must be done at least 20 working days before the screening event, stated the China Film Administration (CFA). It added that producers or the legal entity that submitted the film to overseas events will be responsible for applying.

Besides the copy of the film’s release permit, CFA’s notice stated that applications must include information such as the event’s name in both English and Chinese. 

The event’s date and location of the screening event, as well as a summary of the film’s content, must also be included, according to the state-run Global Times. 

The move by the China Film Administration (CFA) effectively makes Chinese short films subject to the same rules as domestically-made feature-length movies hoping to be shown outside China.

The CFA did not specify what defines a short film. According to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in the US, a short film is “an original motion picture that has a running time of 40 minutes or less, including all credits”.

The film regulator’s latest dictate comes after a Chinese movie about COVID-19 lockdowns triggered heated discussion at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, reported the South China Morning Post (SCMP).

Titled An Unfinished Film and directed by Chinese director Lou Ye, the movie had a special screening on May 16 at the annual event.

According to SCMP, the film has not been approved for public screenings in China and is unlikely to be seen domestically as its content has been censored online.

Global Times reported that the new rules were in line with China’s Film Industry Promotion Law, which came into effect in 2017. Chinese authorities have said the law is aimed at promoting the development of the country’s film industry, advocating “socialist core values” and regulating the film market.

Under that legislation, films are not allowed to include any content that “jeopardises China’s unity, sovereign, or territorial integrity … damages China’s dignity, honour, and interests”, as well as hurt “national sentiments or undermine national solidarity”. 

Those involved in films screened without a government permit could face fines and may be even banned from filmmaking for up to five years. 

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