FIRST Film Festival: See Which Of The 98 Films Took The Big Prize Home This Year!

Since its inception in 2006, the FIRST International Film Festival has been a festival-style service platform in China, focusing on identifying and promoting emerging filmmakers and their works. During the festival’s nine-day run, 98 films were presented, including 27 features and 71 shorts. Due to the excitement demonstrated for every film shown, Q&A sessions with the crowd sometimes lasted far into overtime. Here’s everything we know about this years edition of the film festival and which films took home major prizes on the final night:

What is some more information about this year’s edition of FIRST?


China’s FIRST International Film Festival, now in its 17th edition, has always prided itself in giving a forum for the country’s next generation of filmmakers to showcase their ability. As a result, the event attracts a primarily young crowd. They flock to the city of Xining, located in China’s rugged central area bordering the Tibetan Plateau, where they feast on the independent film programs. The jury was made up by jury president Joan Chen and other numerous local A-listers including Yao Chen, Jackson Yee and Zhang Songwen.

The festival estimated that around 30,000 film enthusiasts attended this year’s event, as well as a media presence of between 500 and 600 industry participants, who were drawn not just to the films but also to side activities such as the FIRST LAB filmmaker training program and the FIRST market.

“[The event] continues to discover and cultivate more powerful storytellers, and to help young filmmakers turn these stories into reality. Communication knows no boundaries. Movies reflect real life and will also affect our lives. Every year, FIRST gathers movies by young people and with wisdom, attitude, and with the shining light of thought, this makes watching movies meaningful.”

Festival founder and head Song Wen

Which films were among the winners at the FIRST film festival?

The top prizes were taken by a rough but empowering three-hour film that follows a migrant woman trying to forge a life in a big city (Qin Tian’s Fate of the Moonlight) and a six-minute short about a young boy made of paper having nightmares about scissor men coming to get him (Zhou Shengwei’s Perfect City: The Bravest Kid). The former film won Best Narrative Feature, while the latter project took home an award for Best Animated/Experimental Short Film. Galaxy Writer was very popular with audiences as well and saw Li Kuo and Shan Dandan, who are the co-directors, being handed the Grand Jury Prize.

Source: Haoyi Jiang / RADII

The festival’s innovative First Frame program and competition emphasizes on the work of female filmmakers or tales about women, with the quasi-documentary This Woman taking home the top prize. Across the week, the early award winners included a documentary called Nest (Best Documentary), Bitter Sweet Ballad (Audience award for documentaries) and Walking With Her Into The Night directed by Shu Hui (Best Short Film). A special mention was given to Where Do Ants Sleep at Night.