film diplomacy

If the box office is anything to go by, Godzilla – the most famous Japanese monster of old (kaiju) – is enjoying a rebirth. Just yesterday, Guillermo del Toro’s kaiju-inspired Pacific Rim invaded Chinese cinemas and raked in record opening ticket sales of $9 million. Meanwhile, news of Godzilla redux, set for release next May, is sparking heated chatter online, following an appearance of the film’s director Gareth Edwards at Comic-Con in San Diego last month.

There is a traditional African proverb that warns, “When elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers.” The grasses of Rwanda have known suffering. But while the elephants grew tired of fighting, the grass continued to grow. After the genocide in 1994, the national strategy for recovery was based upon the tenets of reconciliation, repatriation, and remembrance. In order to make sure “never again” became a reality and not just a mantra of genocides past, the government of Rwanda took reconciliation into their own hands through the tradition of Umuganda.

These types of characters (or caricatures) of Americans abroad behaving badly have been around at least since the days of Mark Twain and Henry James. What's striking is how little, in some ways, the depictions have changed between the late 19th century and the present age of smartphone-wielding mobs stalking the "Mona Lisa," and beery, breast-flashing collegians whom Latin Americans refer to, with eye-rolling exasperation, as los springbreakers.

The last time they were in Hong Kong, two filmmakers from Wong Fu Productions got “pop-star style” hair cuts and ate McCurry burgers at McDonald’s. The two Chinese American YouTube stars embraced the local culture for what it was – a mixture of flash and culture. Wesley Chan and Philip Wang, who founded their film company in California with a third member, Ted Fu, said their roots were here in Asia. That’s part of the reason they keep coming back.

Aerial shots of Jerusalem filled the big screen, along with a giant concrete wall built along the Green Line. We saw security checkpoints at the entrance to Israel but in a very different context than the typical portrayal of checkpoints. These giant walls and security measures were seen as safety, salvation, and stimulated a positive feeling in the audience.

The Embassy of Malta and the Culture Diplomacy Fund in cooperation with The Malta Film Commission organized on the 17 of June 2013 an event entitled ‘CineMalte – les possibilités d’une Ile’. This was the first time ever that such a cultural activity promoting the Maltese cinematographic industry was held in Paris.

The Korean Film Archive (KOFA) has signed an “agreement of cooperation” with the newly opened Shanghai Film Museum, the South Korea state-backed body announced. The pact, the first of its kind to be pursued for KOFA since its inception in 1974, means the two organizations will collaborate for film screenings, exhibitions, and restoration projects.

From June 15-23 cinematic movers and shakers from the world over are descending on Shanghai for the SIFF, now in its 16th year. And as the three Monkey King-themed choppers suggest, Chinese cinema is proudly showing the world what it’s got. As China’s only A-category international film festival accredited by the FIAPF (International Federation of Film Producers Associations), in many ways SIFF is the nation’s ultimate soft power fest.