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

Returning at the end of the month (27 November-3 December) the De Montfort University, Leicester (DMU) led festival named ‘Electric Shadows’ will include a screening programme of the latest films from Greater China at Showcase Cinema in Leicester.

It will also host a programme of events, including free Mandarin lessons, heritage performances and Tai-Chi lessons, concluding with an industry networking event at the Phoenix, Leicester.

A dynamic series of films have been selected for this year’s festival, a collaboration between DMU’s School of Humanities and Performing Arts and the Confucius Institute at the Faculty of Arts, Design and Humanities, in partnership with NGO UK-China Film Collab (UCFC).

Jill Cowley, Dean of Faculty of Arts, Design and Humanities at DMU said: “At DMU we place significant value on cultural appreciation, and creating space where our students and staff can live and work authentically together with each other.

“We champion diversity, and initiatives such as Electric Shadows are invaluable for helping to build awareness and appreciation of rich, diverse cultures.”

“We need cross-perspective understanding more than ever. Recently, the UK co-produced Oppenheimer, directed by Christopher Nolan, received box-office success in China, loved by many. A friendly competition in film appreciation could perhaps be endeavoured in grass-root diplomacy during our challenging times”, said Dr Hiu Man Chan, Senior Lecturer in Creative Industries who curated the festival.”

Electric Shadows will launch on Monday 27 November at Showcase Cinema with a UK premier of Football Youth, a feel-good film about how a group of students who have lost ambition in school eventually found their aspiration again from playing in a football team.

Dr Chan said the film was chosen to inspire Leicester City, hoping its screening would send them a message about how their miracle Premier League-winning story inspired many people abroad.

Other highlights include a documentary titled “refashioned”, directed by Hong Kong based British filmmaker Joanna Bowers. It follows the stories of three entrepreneurial innovators taking steps to motivate the fashion industry to evolve in the face of such adversity.

This film not only echoes with DMU’s dedication to sustainability education as the United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI) global hub for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), but also the university’s internationally acclaimed fashion design and management degrees.

The programme also includes other genres of film such as 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 some short films.

Electric Shadows will close with a UK premiere of Snow Leopards and Friends, an award-winning documentary that champions biodiversity.

For its industry event, a networking session to support Leicester based filmmakers to embrace the Chinese film market will take place at the Terrace Room at the Phoenix on Sunday 3 December.

The event will be supported by international students from the university’s Global Arts Management Top-Up programme, where they can have hands-on experience as part of their studies.

Andrea Gu, Chinese Director of DMU Confucius Institute said: “DMU Confucius Institute is proud to support the second edition of Electric Shadows: Leicester Chinese film festival. We hope that the festival will help people understand more about Chinese culture, contemporary China, and its metropolitan cities.”