Danny Boyle to head Shanghai film festival jury

March 26, 2009  |  5:14am

The British film-maker rides a wave of approval in China, with censors relaxing strict quotas on foreign-made films to permit wide release of his Slumdog Millionaire

His Oscar-winning film Slumdog Millionaire is a love letter to Mumbai, but its rags-to-riches story of a young orphan who rises from the slums to win a gameshow has found Danny Boyle favour across the border in China. The movie was recently approved for wide release by the country's famously restrictive censors, and Boyle was today named jury president of the 2009 Shanghai international film festival.

Speaking at the premiere of his film in Beijing, Boyle described the appointment as "fantastic". He said he had never been on a festival jury before but added that he would not make a list of criteria by which to judge the films in competition.

"It's very rare in normal life, going to a cinema, that you know nothing about the film," he told the Xinhua state news agency. "You should always approach those films with a completely open mind. And that's what I'll be doing."

Slumdog Millionaire, which won eight Oscars last month, opens across mainland China from tomorrow. Weng Li, spokesman for the film's distributor, China Film Group, said he was confident Chinese cinemagoers would considerably boost the film's global box office, which currently stands at more than $200m (£137m).

Tang Lijun, the festival's general manager, said: "Slumdog Millionaire is a perfect example for the cultural exchange between the eastern and western world."

Last year, the Shanghai film festival jury was presided over by Hong Kong director Wong Kar-wai. This year's event runs from 13-21 June.

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