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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.

Reel China is a Chinese-language independent film screening event that started in the United States in 2001. Initiated by the Rec Foundation, it adopts a collaborative model with major American universities, libraries, and other institutions, providing flexibility to meet various needs and arrangements while reaching a broad audience. Since 2006, Reel China has been primarily organized by New York University, held once every two years, and continues to this day. It has screened many independent Chinese films and invited numerous directors to participate in post-screening discussions, making it an important platform for promoting Chinese-language independent films in the United States.

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.