The movies we binge-watched during BISFW’s 16-year-long history (Part I)


Beijing International Sports Film Week (BISFW), which made its debut in 2005, is an important part of the "Beijing Olympic Cultural Festival" organized by the Beijing Olympic Organising Committee during the 2008 Beijing Olympics. It is also an event for international sports film and TV exchanges and exhibitions that continues to this day.

Since 2009, the BISFW, as a continuation of "Cultural Olympics", has been continuously held by the Beijing Olympic City Development Association and incorporated into the Beijing Olympic City Sports Culture Festival, and is regarded as one of the most important legs of the Sport Movies & TV - Milano International FICTS Fest global finals.

The BISFW has presented many excellent works during its 16-year history. Among them, more than 100 have won awards in international competitions.

At the end of the year, it is time for a review. We will look back at the films presented in the past BISFWs in three parts. We selected one film from each BISFW to enable viewers to have a glimpse of the development and changes of Chinese sports films over the past 16 years.


2005: The Year of the Yao

The 45 sports films screened in the first BISFW featured different styles. Some were energetic and inspiring, some were simple and pleasant, and others realistic and delicate. But generally speaking, a positive attitude and sportsmanship were the main theme of the sports film week.

The Chinese premiere of the US digital documentary The Year of the Yao was the highlight of the sports film week. The film was co-directed by Americans James Stern and Adam Del Deo who had filmed the documentary Michael Jordan to the Max.

From the time when Yao Ming becomes the No. 1 pick in the NBA to his poor performance at the beginning, and then to his sudden explosive development after adapting to the NBA, the film does not miss any stage of Yao’s growth. The film also features Jordan and Barkley, who had retired, and NBA stars O'Neal and Kobe Bryant. In addition, it includes behind-the-screen scenes of Barkley kissing a donkey’s ass for his failed prediction about a Yao vs O'Neal duel.

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2006: Children of Heaven

This year, 26 sports films from 8 countries were shown in 6 cinemas in Beijing, and some of them won awards at major international film festivals. The Iranian film Children of Heaven was nominated for the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, which represents the highest artistic level of children's films, and is especially suitable for parents and children to watch together.

The film tells the story of Ali, a child from a poor family. Ali learns he can get a pair of new sneakers by winning third place in a running competition, so he tries his best to get to third place, but unexpectedly reaches the finish line first...

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2007: Invisible Wings

The presentation of a large number of excellent new films was a major feature of this year’s event, some of which had not even been released in China.

Invisible Wings, the premiere film at the opening ceremony, combines themes of youth, sports, inspiration, the disabled, women and rural areas, and tells the story in documentary style of a young girl, Zhihua, who unfortunately loses her arms from a high-voltage electric shock. She learns to take care of herself, goes back to school, practices swimming hard, achieves good results in the National Paralympic Games, and ultimately qualifies for the Paralympic Games.


2008: Dream Weavers: Beijing 2008

2008 was the year of the Olympic Games in China. Dream Weavers: Beijing 2008, filmed by director Gu Yun of the Central Newsreel and Documentary Film Studio through seven years, was the opening film of the BISFW this year.

Dream Weavers: Beijing 2008, with the design contest, the evaluation and the nearly 7-year construction of the National Stadium, the main venue of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, as the structural elements, depicts a panoramic picture of the Chinese people's preparations for the 2008 Olympic Games, artistically and sublimely expresses the theme “One World One Dream”.

The film also narrates the expectations and efforts of an ordinary family, a hurdler, three gymnasts, and a group of special police force officers for the Olympic Games.

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2009: Dream Team

To mark the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China and the first anniversary of the successful Beijing Olympics, the 5th BISFW set up a special screening unit for New China's outstanding sports and Olympic-themed films to present a dozen of films produced in different eras and with distinctive styles.

The children's film Dream Team tells the story of former sports champion Han Jianshe, who unfortunately suffers a leg injury in a basketball game and becomes disabled. After retiring, Han goes to a small village to be a substitute teacher in physical education. Despite the tragedy that befalls him, Han forges a group of naive and naughty elementary school students into a "dream team" relying on his dedication to basketball and his love for the children. After arduous training, Han’s team pockets the championship and wins the privilege of seeing the Beijing 2008 Olympics on site.

(Jie Mingyue)


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