Cannes Favorite Jia Zhangke to Unveil Online Video Platform in China (Exclusive)

« I would like for it to be a kind of United Nations for arthouse filmmakers, » Jia tells THR in Cannes.

Chinese auteur and Cannes favorite Jia Zhangke is set to unveil a new online video platform in China. Named Jia Screen, the Beijing-based service will showcase arthouse short films from China and around the world.

« I would like for it to be a kind of United Nations for arthouse filmmakers, where people can share and discuss short films, » Jia told THR in an interview in Cannes.

Jia is expected to unveil additional details and plans for the project during an event in Cannes on Tuesday.

« What’s really interesting on the internet in China is that there are lots of forums where there are really lively discussions and people talk passionately about the films they have seen, » Jia said. « It’s quite precious and very interesting to see such feedback. »

Widely regarded as one of the leaders of the « Sixth Generation » movement of Chinese cinema, Jia is a frequent competitor and attendee at Cannes. He won the festival’s best screenplay award in 2013 with his gritty drama A Touch of Sin. His 2015 film Mountains May Depart was selected to compete for the Palme d’Or in Cannes in 2015.

Jia is also one of China’s very few arthouse directors to achieve some measure of commercial success in the Chinese theatrical market. Mountains May Depart received a wide release in China in October and grossed $5 million.  

In addition to announcing his new digital media venture, Jia is in Cannes this year as the official patron of the Fabrique des Cinémas du Monde program. Each year, the program selects ten directors and producers from emerging countries to present their first or second film projects to veteran filmmaker mentors in Cannes. 

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