In September 2007, Filming East Festival announced its formation and intention during a press conference to over 30 different media organizations. Just a month later in October, the annual Filming East Festival occurred for the first time, with the support of the UK Film Council and the purpose of promoting China’s movies in the United Kingdom. Now the UK’s largest Chinese independent film festival, Filming East assists members of the film industry, both in China and the United Kingdom, with career-boosting networking opportunities and academic events where experts focus on the cultural impact and growth of Chinese cinema.

Both established and grassroots filmmakers are featured during the annual film screenings, competitions, and international forums. Members can establish strategic relationships during the festival’s events throughout the year, which are meant to allow participants and audience alike the chance to discover more about China’s culture and film industry.

Filming East Youtube Video

Incorporated into the festival since the beginningis the One Minute Award, which receives hundreds of entries of extremely short films for consideration from the general public. Only twenty are chosen for screening. There are also panel sessions and workshops featuring tables of experts from the film industry.

Some examples of panels that have been held include topics on “The Value of Film Festivals” and “UK-Chinese Film Co-Production.”In their first year, over 50 multi-genre feature-length and short Chinese films were screened to a UK audience of at least 1,000 in the cities of London and Oxford. Years later, there are over 3,000 registered participants.

The Filming East Festival has successful global partnerships that help sponsor the events every year, including the BBC, UK Chinese Times, China News, Yahoo China and other British and Chinese news outlets. With numerous contacts in China, Filming East has collected an enormous archive of Chinese independent films and works from award-winning Chinese directors. It is thanks to the overwhelming support they receive that Filming East is able to run academic events throughout the year for both insiders in the industry and audience members.
In 2008, the festival held film screenings at the Covent Garden Odeon Cinema in London.
In 2011, Filming East Festival showcased a series of Chinese Art House films in collaboration with Ping Works at the Villain Bar 89 in London. Chinese filmmakers, members of FEF and Ping Works, as well as workers in the media were all invited to this event.

In 2012 during a “China in Action” program, Jackie Chan made an appearance on the big screen when he introduced a film he produced, Ding Sheng’s blockbusterLittle Big Soldier, and his own film Chinese Zodiac during that year’s festival. In February of that same year, FEF screened the film Confucius in London’s South Bank.

In June of 2014, FEF held an event featuring the discussion “Sex, Politics and Aesthetics in the Shanghai Golden Age” with the King’s College Department of Film Studies Dr. Victor Fan.

The festival has grown in size every year. Scott Lash, a professor at the Goldsmiths University of London, described the success of the annual festival, stating,

“[I] think they are doing a wonderful job in bringing both Chinese indie and commercial films here as well as creating an almost salon like (in the best sense of say the old Viennese salons) Chinese-Western cultural space in London.”

The director of the festival, actress Sun Xiaoxiao, explained why she saw exposing UK audiences to Chinese film as important and meaningful: “A successful film can have a very strong impact, and even shape the image of a country.” She describes the festival as an opportunity for the British to discover more about China, in more genres than just martial arts.