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First Edition of HIIFF

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On April 13, 2018, General Secretary Xi Jinping announced at the Congress celebrating the 30th anniversary of the establishment of the provincial-run Special Economic Zone in Hainan that the Central Committee of the Party had decided to support the construction of a free trade pilot area throughout Hainan Island and Hainan to gradually explore and steadily promote the construction of a free trade port with Chinese characteristics. The Hainan Island International Film Festival came into being as the times require.


The 1st Hainan Island International Film Festival was held in Sanya, Hainan from 9 to 16 December 2018. Hainan Island International Film Festival aims to create a professional and International Film Festival with the goal of “all-year exhibition, all-island projection, all-people viewing and all-industry chain”.


On the evening of December 11, 2018, the first Hainan Island International Film Festival opened in Haitangwan Bay, Sanya. In accordance with international practice, besides opening and closing ceremonies, film exhibitions, forums and other regular activities, the festival also launches a new film promotion conference in the Chinese film market, a nationwide promotion exhibition of shooting attractions, etc. The organizing committee will give free support and promotion to shooting attractions in some poor areas.


The Film Festival has designed the honor unit of critics and the influence unit of cinema for the annual Chinese films released in China. During the film exhibition, the festival will make full use of Hainan’s unique geographical environment, open beach cinemas and tour the island.


On December 16, 2018, at the closing ceremony of the 1st Hainan Island International Film Festival, Johnny Depp, Isabel Yupper, Juliet Binoche, Jackie Chan, Guo Fucheng, Xu E and other domestic and foreign film stars attended the festival to congratulate. The final results of the “Chinese Film Honor Selection Unit” of the festival were also announced.

The 1st Hainan Island International Film Festival (Chinese: 海南岛国际电影节) is a film festival held in Sanya, Hainan, China.The inaugural festival was held from December 9 to 16, and included forums, ceremonies, and competitions. Actor Jackie Chan is the promotional ambassador. Along with Chan, the festival was attended by a number of international film personalities, including Turkish film director Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Bollywood star Aamir Khan, and Hollywood film stars such as Johnny Depp, Nicolas Cage and Mads Mikkelsen. The festival’s top prize was awarded to Dying to Survive, with the award presented by Khan.

PROGRAM ·1st HIIFF

The first edition of Hainan Island International Film Festival(HIIFF)showed more than one hundred high-quality films from over thirty countries and regions, and many of them are internationally awarded that would be shown the first time in Asia. We invited more than forty filmmakers from all over the world, including Nuri Bilge Ceylan, the Turkish film master and the Golden Palm director.

In this geographically special island, we creatively designed eight sections in the program: Cape Section: excellent new films from southeast Asia, African, Chinese Taiwan and Japan; Thule Section: stories from the north of the world; Now China is a showcase of new Chinese films; Echo of the World includes films with great international attention this year; Peking Opera Live;  Immersive VR Section; The Sound of Silence: film concerts and Next Wave Hainan introducing local filmmakers.

With warm sea wind and soft sand beach, Dadong Sea becomes the paradise for worldwide visitors in the daytime, but at night, as a unique feature in this festival, it would turn into a special sand cinema open for free to the public. There would be over ten feature-length or short movies from different units to be shown in the sand cinema and three performances of silent movies to be accompanied by live music. Because of the unique geographical and climatic advantages of Hainan Island, people would have chances spending beautiful nights with art through the combination of sand, movies and music.

Though it is named ‘Film Screenings’, the curator team of Hainan International Film Festival actually applied the multi-dimensional and trans-disciplinary artistic mode fusing images with sound. They made good use of the special showing venue and broke the oneness of arts classification. And they want to explore the audio-visual harmony with the attitude of diversity and generosity.

From December 9th to 16th, Hainan International Film Festival sincerely invites worldwide movie lovers to join a romantic date with motion pictures as well as the sea island.

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Thule International Section

This section mainly focuses on films from the Polar Regions including Northern Europe, Russia and Canada, the farthest places which the Maritime Silk Route could reach. Special harsh environment “beyond the horizon ” educates specific mental natures and national personalities. Here, regionalism and internationalism , endemicity and sociality will be always in harmony and unity.

Every year in those countries, numerous award-winning arthouse films of high quality are produced, which will definitely bring to Hainan audiences a distinctive viewing experience.

Cape International Section

Leading by Southeast Asian films, with a peculiar gentle charm, films those island countries produced have brought a new wave in the world of cinema. Excellent films from Taiwan,Province of China, Japan, island area of Southeast Asia, Africa and India Peninsula etc will be screened in this section to show diversified cultures of coastal areas around the world.

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Now China

In recent years, more and more art films of high quality appeared in the mainland film market. This section will show some excellent Chinese art films and documentaries of this year, two of which is having its world premiere. During the film festival audience could enjoy the film ahead of its official release and have an exchange with filmmakers.

Echo of the World

Multi-award-winning art films from international film festivals for the past few years will also be shown in the section. A feast on films is expected !

Next Wave Hainan

This section organized an open submission to films produced by Hainan filmmakers or shot in Hainan. More than 70 qualified submissions are received, 9 of which are nominated and get the chance of projection in the festival. Hopefully the section will provide a supporting platform for Hainan in fostering new filmmakers and gathering local power.

Immersive VR Section

Virtual Reality(VR) is no longer a strange conception, and its charm is also no longer indigestible for audience. The appearance of VR undoubtedly offer one possibility in technology while an intelligent artist would bring it into reality. For all the directors and artists, the combination of VR and cinema creates endless possibilities. In recent years, many world-renowned film festival set up the VR unit successively, providing a precious platform for this new form of art.

The 1st Hainan International Film Festival also set up an “Immersive VR Section” in which 7 VR films from Asia, Northern America and Europe will be shown, in collaboration with world-famous VR company Jaunt China. These VR films have a wide variety of themes including documentary, animation, art and horror, etc, coming from the Venice Film Festival competition, South by Southwest Film Festival, Pusan Film Festival and Cannes Film Festival. 

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Sound of Silence

What we intend to achieve through this mixture of silent film screening and live music performance is to inherit and transcend the tradition. By subverting the established silent film viewing formality and putting live music into the entire picture, we hope to embrace the sense of hearing and watching, provide the audience with a fresh and more ravishing aesthetic experience.

Psychedelic rock, experiment, Japanese Benshi with classic piano and Chikuzen biwa……We invite artists of various styles around the world to re-compose music for the silent films and do live performance while screening. Through their vision, comprehension and construction, we hope to turn these old films into a whole new version, which is also what Sound of Silence expect.