China’s Hainan Island International Film Festival Returns As In-Person Event; Competition Titles Include ‘Aftersun’, ‘Saint Omer’, ‘The Beasts’

Hainan Island International Film Festival (HIIFF) in China’s Sanya has returned as an in-person event, following a relatively short Covid-related postponement, with separate competition sections for features, documentaries and shorts. 

The festival opened on December 18 with a screening of Chinese filmmaker Da Peng’s Post Truth and is scheduled to wrap on December 25. It was originally scheduled to run December 3-10, but was postponed due to the on-going Covid situation.  

Veteran festival director Marco Mueller recently joined HIIFF as artistic director.  He previously headed programming for China’s Pingyao International Film Festival.

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HIIFF’s 11-title competition section will screen recent festival favourites including Charlotte Wells’ Aftersun, Alice Diop’s Saint Omer and Rodrigo Sorogoyen’s The Beasts. Chinese titles in competition include Chakme Rinpoche’s Georgia and Qiao Siyu’s The Cord Of Life. The documentary competition will screen eight titles (see line-up below). 

In addition to the competition sections, the festival has sidebars including Gala screenings, Asian New Director, Fest Best, Panorama, New Horizons, Classics and Screenings by the Sea.

Asian New Director is screening Autobiography, directed by Indonesia’s Makbul Mubarak, which has won several prizes on the festival circuit this year; Bratya from Kazakhstan’s Darkhan Tulegenov; Imagine from Iran’s Ali Behrad; Leonor Will Never Die from the Philippines’ Martika Ramirez Escobar; Roleless by Japan’s Masahiko Sato, Yutaro Seki and Kentaro Hirase, and Indian director Jaishankar Aryar’s recent Busan winner Shivamma

The Panorama section includes titles such as Ajoomma, from Singapore filmmaker He Shuming, A Man from Japan’s Kei Ishikawa and Emily Atef’s More Than Ever

Hainan Island, located off the south coast of China, is a tropical beach resort but is also being developed as a business hub and shooting location, with many Chinese productions relocating there during the pandemic. 

HIIFF 2022 Feature Competition:

Aftersun, Charlotte Wells (UK/USA)

The Beasts, Rodrigo Sorogoyen (Spain)

Georgia, Chakme Rinpoche (China)

Son Of Ramses, Clément Cogitore (France)

Saint Omer,  Alice Diop (Senegal)

The Cord Of Life, Qiao Siyu (China)

The Innocent, Louis Garrel (France)

Trenque Lauquen, Laura Citarella (Argentina)

Vera, Tizza Covi & Rainer Frimmel (Austria)

What Remains, Huang Ran (UK/Hong Kong/Finland)

World War III, Houman Seyedi (Iran)

HIIFF 2022 Documentary Competition:

A Marble Travelogue, Sean Wang (Netherlands/Hong Kong/Greece)

A Steady Job, Mattia Colombo & Gianluca Matarrese (Italy)

Blue Bag Life, Rebecca Lloyd-Evans (UK)

Dry Ground Burning, Joana Pimenta & Adirley Queirós (Brazil)

Rookies, Thierry Demaizière & Alban Teurlai (France)

See You Friday Robinson, Mitra Farahani (France/Switzerland/Iran/Lebanon)

The Eclipse, Natasa Urban (Norway)

We, Students!, Rafiki Fariala (Central African Republic/Democratic Republic of the Congo/Saudi Arabia)

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