The first ever festival dedicated to the celebration of contemporary Chinese cinema in the East Midlands returned to Leicester for the second year following last year’s regional and international success.

“Electric Shadows” was held from 27 November to 3 December, a collaboration between DMU Confucius Institute, the School of Humanities and Performing Arts at De Montfort University, in partnership with NGO UK-China Film Collab (UCFC). A dynamic series of films selected from Greater China were screened Showcase Cinema in Leicester. It also hosted a programme of events, including free Mandarin lessons, heritage performances and Tai-Chi lessons, as well as an industry networking event at the Phoenix, a local independent cinema.

The curated programme covered different genres and themes to meet the needs of different film-goers. In addition to the Opening Film with a UK premier of Football Youth which hoped to inspire Leicester City to create a miracle again, the selection also included other genres of film such as a documentary from Hong Kong titled reFashioned, which not only echoed with DMU’s dedication to sustainability education as the United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI) Hub for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), but also the university’s internationally acclaimed fashion design and management degrees.

The rest of programme also included co-production arthouse Till Love Do Us Part, crime drama Lost in the Stars, romantic comedy The Ex-Files 4: Marriage Plan, martial arts classic Kung Fu Hustle and family animation Legend of Sealed Book. The festival finally closed with Snow Leopards and Friends, a wildlife documentary that champions biodiversity in Tibet.

Many of the screenings this year were a full house, and the industry event attracted local companies to attend with curiosity.

We look forward to collaborating with our partners again in 2024 for the 3rd edition, to continue curating films that are in a position to encourage a broad discussion and debate such as global sustainability and biodiversity.