Film Festival Pulls Own Plug

Global Times reports that the 8th Documentary Film Festival of China has been canceled due to the “tense” atmosphere:

The official festival microblog at sina.com revealed Monday that the event, which was scheduled to be held in Songzhuang, Tongzhou district, from May 1 to 7, would no longer take place.

“I was surprised that they suddenly cancelled the event,” director Xu Xin told the Global Times Tuesday.

Xu, who is best-known for his film Karamay, had submitted his new film Pathway to the festival for its world premiere, but organizers confirmed to him Monday that the festival was cancelled.

The organization Li Xianting’s Film Fund began collecting and preparing for the festival in December 2010. According to the festival’s posts on the Douban social networking site, the festival was founded in 2003 and was the first professional documentary film festival in the Chinese mainland. In seven years, it has screened more than 300 films from home and abroad.

“We cancelled it ourselves,” festival art director Zhu Rikun told the Global Times Tuesday. “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 would not explain specifically what pressures they had encountered.

The website for Li Xianting’s Film Fund appears to be down. Read more about Li Xianting, the art critic for whom the Fund is named.