The 15th edition of the FIRST International Film Festival will be held in Xining, capital of Qinghai province from July 25 to Aug 2. [Photo provided to China Daily]

The 15th edition of the FIRST International Film Festival, China’s major platform nurturing young talent in the film industry, will be held in Xining, capital of Qinghai province, from July 25 to Aug 2, as announced at a News conference in Beijing on May 28.

Inaugurated in 2006, the annual event has aimed to explore young filmmakers’ diverse styles through their first films or early-stage works and thus contribute to the general development of the Chinese film industry.

For the upcoming 15th festival, the actress and director Sylvia Chang will lead a six-person competition jury for the films. Another six-person jury which includes actress Zhou Xun and director Feng Xiaogang will be in charge of selecting potentially successful scripts and ushering them into further development in the market.

A new section set for this year’s FIRST festival seeks to encourage a polyphony of narratives to positively impact the gender balance in the film industry.

Known as “First Frame” and co-presented by the organizing committee and the fashion brand Chanel, this category spotlights selected works by young Chinese filmmakers that focus on the lives of women or are created by female filmmakers.

According to the organizers, the works in First Frame will span feature, short and narrative film, documentary, and other genres. By bringing attention to the most promising young talent emerging from China’s growing film community, the section aims to champion the next wave of cinematic storytellers and their ability to introduce new narratives.

Apart from screening films, the festival has also scheduled a panel discussion, inviting film insiders to exchange ideas on the subject of championing women’s voices with a specific focus on gender equality.