'Cinema of Dreams' in China


Some of Scotland's best work both behind and in front of the cameras will be projected to Chinese film lovers at Beijing's China Film Archive in surroundings atmospheric of a small Scottish community cinema.

The 'Scottish Cinema of Dreams in China', organised by the Scottish Government and the British Council, will transport Chinese audiences to a recreated Scottish ballroom, offering them a unique taste of Scotland's cultural treasures. It will run from March 20-23 at the China Film Archive in Beijing, with further screenings at the Beijing Film Academy from March 25-27. The project is co-curated by acclaimed actress Tilda Swinton and writer, broadcaster and film critic Mark Cousins. It replicates their original and highly successful 'Scottish Cinema of Dreams' which took place in Nairn in August 2008.

Minister for Culture, External Affairs and the Constitution Michael Russell said:

"Scotland and China both have distinctive and vibrant cultures with long traditions. At the China Film Archive, we have the opportunity to communicate across cultures, reaching out to Chinese filmgoers and providing an insight into our unique identity and culture. That is why I am delighted that the Scottish Government is working with partners to support the 'Scottish Cinema of Dreams'.

"In this Year of Homecoming we are inviting people with Scottish ancestry or an affinity for Scotland to come and join us in an inspirational celebration of our culture, heritage and contributions to the world, including Scottish film. It is therefore especially appropriate that Scotland showcases this wonderful range of films to an international audience.

"Through the Scottish Government's China Plan we have given an undertaking to strengthen links between our two countries. This is a commitment we do not take lightly and both the First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education will visit China in April to develop links further.

"Scotland has a world class reputation for the quality of its film production. Many Scottish films are available in different languages around the world, and visual art, music and literature allow us to transcend language barriers as we seek to promote Scotland's identity around the world. The 'Scottish Cinema of Dreams' is a fantastic opportunity for the artistic community in both Scotland and China to share skills, present work to new audiences and establish creative collaborations. I am sure we will strengthen links and opportunities for the film industry in our two countries."

Tilda Swinton and Mark Cousins enthused:

"We're here in Beijing because of the brilliance of Bill Douglas, Lynne Ramsay, Norman Mclaren, Margaret Tait and other great Scottish directors. Each night here, thanks to these artists' work, Chinese people are seeing the hopes and fears, comedy and sadness, romance and longing in Scottish life. We love this and we are thrilled to see it happen."

The Scottish Cinema of Dreams in China is organised by The Scottish Government, British Council (operating as the Culture and Education Section of the British Embassy Beijing), China Film Archive and Beijing Film Academy with support from Scottish Screen, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh Napier University and the British Film Institute. The Scottish Government provided a funding contribution of £50,000 towards the film festival with support in kind from British Council, Scottish Screen and Screen Academy Scotland. The University of Edinburgh provided £10,000. The Festival has attracted sponsors including Walkers, Tullis Russell, Chivas and Panasonic.

The 'Scottish Cinema of Dreams in China' is co-curated by Tilda Swinton and Mark Cousins and builds on a previous festival held in Nairn in August 2008. Swinton and Cousins organised the nine day festival of films in a disused ballroom as an experimental grass roots alternative to the commercialised glamour of contemporary film festivals. They aim to recreate the same atmosphere of a small Scottish community cinema in Beijing, complete with bean bags for seats and installations promising to transport viewers into a dreamlike world.

The Scottish Government has been working over the last two years with partners such as Scottish Screen and film curator and critic Mark Cousins to develop a long term programme of film activity which connects Scotland and China. The 'Scottish Cinema of Dreams in China', sustains the links already achieved through the highly successful Cinema China film festival in Scotland in partnership with the Confucius Institute for Scotland and the Edinburgh Filmhouse.