Prominent Chinese filmmaker Jia Zhangke has announced he is departing the Pingyao International Film Festival, which he co-founded four years ago.
The fest has not yet made an official statement but the director made the surprise announcement yesterday during the closing day of the fourth edition, telling local media he was looking for the event to “get rid of Ji Zhangke’s shadow and let it gain independent vitality” and that he was opting to “leave when it is strong”.
There are Chinese reports that the festival will be government run from next year. It is not known if this was a factor in Ji Zhangke’s decision, though he has been quoted by finance.sina.com as noting that the event “didn’t spend a penny from the government” during its existence to date.
Pingyao was originally set up by Jia Zhangke and Marco Muller, the former Venice director. It is not immediately clear if Muller or other members of the festival team are also departing. Deadline has reached out to the festival for further comment.