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Exhibition History

CIFA aims to archive the individual histories of numerous independent film exhibitions and institutions that have emerged emerged since the beginning of the 1990s, through texts, files, images and videos. We pay particular attention to those events which have received less attention or have even been forgotten. We welcome archival materials of any relevant exhibitions.

The first ever Beijing Queer Film Festival was organised in December 2001 by a group of university students belonging to the Peking University Student Cinema Association. The festival was then called “China Homosexual Film Festival” and attracted a lot of attention. The second edition took place in 2005 under the name “Beijing Gay & Lesbian Film Festival”, the third edition happened in 2007 under the name “Beijing Queer Film Forum” and in 2009, at its fourth edition, the festival adopted the title “Beijing Queer Film Festival”. It’s currently the only film festival in mainland China to offer a public forum to films and discussions exploring sexuality and gender identities.

China Independent Film Festival was founded in 2003 in Nanjing and ceased to operation in 2019. As a non-governmental and non-profitable independent film event, CIFF dedicated to  independent cinema with the goal of encouraging communication and interaction between independent film makers, audience and researchers.

Starting in 2006, The Center for Religion and Media’s co-director Angela Zito joined forces with Zhang Zhen in Cinema Studies at NYU to produce the Reel China @NYU Documentary Biennial. It showcases documentary work by filmmakers who work outside China’s state-sponsored film system, with a special interest in the ethical activism enabled through such filmmaking. Reel China is presented by The Asian Film & Media Initiative, The Department of Cinema Studies, and the Center for Religion & Media.

Rejection / Determination – Chinese Independent Documentary Film after 1997 was curated by filmmaker Huang Wenhai, co-organized by Chinese Independent Documentary Lab (Hong Kong), HKADC-commissioned Green Wave Art, local independent film organisation Ying E Chi, Visible Record Limited which advocates for the art and culture of documentary film, Cinezen and Li Xianting’s Film Fund (LFF). It ran in 2017 and 2018 in Hong Kong. The events presented Chinese independent  documentary films made after 1997.

The Festival Shadows, a biennial Parisian event, is dedicated to showcasing Chinese independent cinema, which lifts the veil on a current, unknown and fascinating China.