Odyssey: a Chinese cinema season – 60+ films in 8 curated sections, 10 discussion panels, exclusive Q&As and 4 awards. A not-to-be-missed festival in the UK to celebrate international cinema!

Film programming is a form of knowledge production. Whether the programmer is independent or part of an institution, their job is never merely to choose ‘the best films’ for their audience based on artistic merit alone. Their understanding of the world, cultural identity, and political perspective are always embodied in the programmes they compile – in turn influencing the perceptions of their audience. Hence, this panel asks what role a female programmer’s gender identity might play in her programming practice. 

With the growth of many newly established film festivals in China in recent years, more and more female programmers have begun to appear in the spotlight, taking on positions of power. According to Dr Skadi Loist’s research in the German film industry (2019), producers’ gender identity is crucial to maintaining a gender balance in the film industry; this is evident in the fact that female producers work significantly more often with female writers and directors than male producers. This begs the question: is the same impact taking place with the rise of female film programmers in the contemporary Chinese film festival industry? 

With such questions in mind, we have organised this discussion panel to focus on the rise of female film programmers in the contemporary Chinese film industry. This panel brings together four institutional and independent film programmers from different film festivals in China, to reflect on what changes their presence has brought about in this traditionally male-dominated field, as well as the challenges and dilemmas they encountered in their practice. 

*This panel will be conducted in Chinese but is open to audiences from all backgrounds to attend. Simultaneous interpretation is available in English.

Roundtable Rundown:

  1. Guests’ individual presentation 10 mins/person.
  2. Thematic discussion among all guests 20 – 30 mins.
  3. Q&A session with the audience 15 – 20 mins.

Date: 20 May 2022, Friday | 13:00-14:30 pm BST (20:00-21:30 pm CN time)

Format: Online Panel Discussion via Zoom

Registration Here.


Yishu Wang

Yishu Wang received her MSc in Film, Exhibition and Curation at the University of Edinburgh and is currently the Director of Minute International Short Film Festival. Yishu was the Head of Competition and Screening at FIRST International Film Festival (2015-2021) and has worked at festivals including China Independent Film Festival, China Women’s Film Festival, Glasgow Film Festival, Edinburgh International Film Festival, and more.

Sydney Lee

Sydney Lee graduated from the Communication University of China, majoring in Film Directing. She is currently the Programmer & Co-founder of The One International Women’s Film Festival of China (ONEIWFF).

Dr Shan Tong

Shan Tong is a film researcher and programmer. She holds a PhD in Film Studies from the City University of Hong Kong. Her research focuses on documentary theory and practice, Chinese cinemas, transnational filmmaking practices of Chinese independent documentary and art film, and film festivals. She has published several academic articles in peer-reviewed international journals, including Studies in Documentary Film and Journal of Chinese Cinemas. Tong also works as a programmer at the Beijing International Short Film Festival (BISFF).

Xue Gu

Xue Gu is a Manchurian-descendant filmmaker and curator. She received her Master of Arts from the Communication University of China. In 2020, her documentary The Choice was selected for the 42nd Cinéma du Réel Film Festival and the FIDBA International Documentary Film Festival. Xue Gu was also awarded the prize for emerging filmmaker at the Open City Documentary Festival. Outside of Gu’s filmmaking, she is also involved in many film-related activities, including being the co-founder and programmer for the Inner Mongolia Youth Film Week, working as a curator at the Fitzcarraldo Film Festival, serving as a primary judge at the FIRST International Film Festival, working as convenor at the Grassland Film Workshop, and contributing as a guest curator to the online film exhibition Contemporary Murmurings of China’s New Ethnic Minorities.


Liao Zhang

Liao Zhang is a final year PhD candidate in Film and Television Studies at the University of Nottingham. Her PhD project explores the representation of girl’s culture and post-feminist sensibility in contemporary Chinese girlhood cinema. Beyond her PhD research, Liao serves as Lead Women’s Film Programme Curator at the UK-China Film Collab, Training Officer at the MeCCSA PGN, Lead of Public Relations at the Odyssey: a Chinese cinema season, and Editor for Stanford Social Innovation Review, China.

Contact Information:

Email: liao.zhang@ukchinafilm.uk
WeChat: LZ_Gloria

A Special Thanks to Our Simultaneous Interpretation Support Team:

Dr Xiaoran Zhang

Dr Xiaoran Zhang was awarded a Doctoral degree in Film and Television Studies at the University of Nottingham. His doctoral research explores the online distribution practices of English-language television series in mainland China. His research interests also include audience studies, bullet screen studies, and censorship studies. His recent works have appeared in Participation and Streaming and Screen Cultures Asia-Pacific (2022)

Ethan Shi

Ethan holds a Master’s degree in Film and TV Studies from the University of Bristol. He also serves as Producer and International Film Relations Negotiator at UK-China Film Collab as part of the Future Talent Programme 2021-2022. He is also an A-Level Media tutor at Weston College.

I would like to thank the interpreters for their kind support of this panel discussion; it is because of their hard work that this panel can be available to both UK and Chinese audiences.

10 Discussion Panels at Odyssey

Industry-focused panels were the highlight of Odyssey. This year we have prepared another 10 new topics – all designed to explore film-related collaborations between the UK and Greater China:

Panel 1: TwinFlame: the receptions of British cinema among a Chinese audience

Panel 2: A new exploration of UK-China co-production film

Panel 3: Women’s practice in the contemporary Chinese film industry: female film programmers on the rise

Panel 4: Potentials and Obstacles for British cinema showcase in China 

Panel 5: Chinese regional cinemas

Panel 6: Global sustainability as a storytelling strategy for non-Hollywood films

Panel 7: Future development of Chinese animation industry and international collaboration

Panel 8: An investigation into current press coverages of Chinese-language films in the UK

Panel 9: New business ideas and model for UK-China film collaboration

Panel 10: New distribution strategies for Chinese films in the UK  

About Odyssey

Odyssey aims to empower a shared appreciation of film, to create an inclusive cinematic experience, and to encourage cross-cultural understanding. From 10th May to 10th June 2022, with more than 60 films in 8 curated sections, 10 panel discussions and many inspiring Q&A sessions, we will bring you a whole month of outstanding and innovative Chinese cinema that promises to illuminate your mind. The festival will not only introduce the latest young Chinese film talents to the UK audience, but also provide forums for professionals to exchange creativity and business ideas.

Odyssey will take place in a hybrid format in 2022. The opening film screening will be hosted in person by our venue partner, the Picturehouse Cinemas, in London and Edinburgh on 10th May with a reception. Most of the programme will be available online for all audiences across the country, and we will also organise several pop-up special cinema screenings throughout. The online festival platform of Odyssey will be powered by Shift 72.



Who is our Headline Sponsor this year? – Your most reliable renting company in London!

Azad Ayub Limited is a multi-national award-winning property management and development company, founded by investor, entrepreneur and philanthropist Azad Ayub who has a background in international civil engineering. The company owns and manages properties in North London and has been providing high-quality houses to its clients for over 30 years. Recently the company’s portfolio has expanded to Spain, Pakistan and the USA.

Apart from his property business, Azad has been generously giving back to society as a reputable philanthropist. He is a keen supporter of some of the most prestigious charities in the UK, including Able Child Africa, Lord Mayor’s Appeal Charity, Television for the Environment (Trustee), Royal Institute (Patron) and many more.

We would like to thank Mr Azad Ayub for his generous support toward our Odyssey journey.

Related Information

Keep yourself updated with our upcoming exciting programme announcements by following our social media accounts!

Festival Date: 10th May – 10th June 2022
Format: Offline in London, Edinburgh, and Online via Shift 72
Presented by UK-China Film Collab
Festival Website: odysseychinesecinema.uk
Festival Instagram & Twitter: odysseyccs

For Press Enquiry Please Contact

Liao Zhang

Lead of Public Relations
Email: liao.zhang@ukchinafilm.uk
WeChat: LZ_Gloria