U.S. director Rob Minkoff has joined the international competition jury of the Beijing International Film Festival, kicking off in the Chinese capital April 16.
At a press event in Beijing on Friday, the government-backed event unveiled its full jury lineup and the official selection of 15 international films that will compete for the festival's annual Tiantan Award.
Danish filmmaker Bille August, a two-time Palme d'Or winner and one-time Oscar winner, was previously named chair of this year's jury. He and Minkoff will be joined by Hong Kong director Mabel Cheung, Italian producer Paolo Del Brocco, Chinese actress Jiang Wenli, French actor Jean Reno and director Radu Jude of Romania.
Minkoff, best known for The Lion King, was an early Hollywood emissary to China's growing film market. He shot The Forbidden Kingdom, starring Jet Li and Jackie Chan, in China in 2009.
Notably, no U.S. films were selected to compete in Beijing this year. Europe is well represented, however, and Iranian, Japanese and Canadian films made the cut.
The 2017 competition selection includes:
A Kid, by Philipe Lioret (France)
Alma de Sant Pere, by Jarmo Lampela (Finland)
Coffee, by Cristiano Bortone (Italy, China and Belgium)
Dim The Fluorescents, by Daniel Warth (Canada)
House of Others, by Rusudan Glurjidze (Georgia, Russia, Spain and Croatia)
Kanon, by Toshiro Saiga (Japan)
Luka, by Giorgi Barabadze (Georgia)
Mr. No Problem, by Mei Feng (China)
Night of a 1000 Hours, by Virgil Widrich (Luxembourg, Austria and Holland)
Operation Mekong, by Dante Lam (China)
The Death and Life of Otto Bloom, by Cris Jones (Australia)
The Poisoning Angel, by Stephanie Pillonca (France)
The Sis, by Marjan Ashrafizadeh (Iran)
Tiger Theory, by Radek Bajgar (Czech Republic and Slovakia)
Two Lottery Tickets, by Paul Negoescu (Romania)
The Beijing festival, now entering its seventh edition, will again host a panel discussion on the perennial topic of China co-productions. The panelists will include Serbian director Emir Kusturica; Chinese filmmaker Chen Kaige; producer, actor and director Aamir Khan of India; Peter Doherty, CEO of Colin Firth's Raindog Films; Jerry Ye, CEO of Huayi Brothers Media; and U.S. director Rob Cohen, who just signed on to direct a $100 million China-set thriller, Speedhunters, for Jiaflix Pictures.
Other festival forums will cover topics like distribution and digital marketing in China, transformative cinema technologies and more, with speakers such as Ren Zhongren, CEO of Shanghai Film Group; Bill Kong of Edko Films; Alibaba Pictures executive director Zhang Qiang; and Bona Film Group founder and chairman Yu Dong.
Despite not making the competition cut, American cinema won't be entirely absent in Beijing. As previously announced, the event also will screen a special retrospective of the work of David Lynch and the full franchises of The Fast and the Furious and Pirates of the Caribbean.