Pandas can be seen everywhere in Chengdu, as the city in Southwest China's Sichuan Province has decorated every street corner and shop with the hometown mascot ahead of the first Golden Panda Awards on Tuesday and Wednesday.
With films and TV series as the medium and the panda as its cultural symbol, the upcoming awards are committed to promoting exchanges and mutual learning among global civilizations, allowing everyone to get closer to China while the country embraces the world.
"The selection event for the first Golden Panda Awards demonstrates the responsibility of touching and exploring common human emotions, and leads the direction of industry development," Ren Zhonglun, the preliminary jury representative of the first Golden Panda Awards and vice chairman of the China Film Association, said in an interview.
The Golden Panda Awards focuses on "the exchange of different cultures." Compared with existing domestic awards, the Golden Panda Awards clearly reflects the role of "improving the influence of Chinese culture."
Hosted by the China Federation of Literary and Art Circles and the Sichuan Provincial Government, the Golden Panda Awards will be held every two years and be permanently based in Sichuan.
The participating works for the first year's event reflect China's internationalization and openness. In the early stage, the committee used a combination of public submissions and targeted invites to collect works from around the world.
The total number of collected works reached 7,024 from 104 countries and regions, including 4,927 foreign works, accounting for 70 percent of the total.
"Among these nominated works, we see a diverse range of films, from art films to commercial ones, on a variety of topics, ranging from family ties to sci-fi concepts," Sun Jiashan, an associate researcher at the China National Academy of Arts, told the Global Times on Sunday.
"As the panda is one of China's most well-known cultural icons, films and TV series will work together to shape a reliable, admirable and respectable image of China."
US composer Nathan Wang, also one of the jury members for the film awards, said that he couldn't wait to "see so many people coming together from different walks of life in the world, as the Golden Panda Awards will foster mutual understanding between countries."
He couldn't "imagine any better place to be able to host something like this," as he feels Chengdu is the perfect place for the cultural feast.
For Chantal Rickards from the UK, who is also a jury member for the TV drama category, this is not only her first time visiting the "hometown of pandas," but also a trip full of excitement and surprises, as the awards foster cultural exchanges and understanding to "create a global community that comes together around storytelling."
The expression of human emotion is always an important core of film and TV productions as "the power of art transcends borders. It is never the case that just because a work was shot by people from one country, audiences from other countries cannot share the emotions it conveys," added Ren.
The entries for this Golden Panda Awards all reflect the characteristics of promoting truthfulness, goodness and beauty of human nature.
"The first Golden Panda Awards aims to play its role as a cultural carrier and help promote the building of a global community of shared future."
The First Golden Panda Awards will cover four categories: film, TV series, documentaries and animated works. These will be presented across three main activities - Night of the Golden Panda, the Golden Panda International Cultural Forum, and the Golden Panda Gala - as well as three types of supporting events: visiting events, public film screenings and new exhibitions.
The logo of the Golden Panda Awards was designed by a team at the Sichuan Academy of Fine Arts. A panda forms the main body, while Tai Chi elements have been incorporated into the design. The design creates a strong visual impact and expresses the interaction, exchanges and mutual learning between different cultures. The statuette was designed by the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts. The overall shape is a cute panda engraved on the top of bamboo joints, which represents the concept of steadily rising quality.
The final results will be unveiled at the Golden Panda Gala on Wednesday night.