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Restored cinema pays tribute to great history

By YUAN SHENGGAO | China Daily | Updated: 2022-11-14

As a city famed for its culture and arts, Xiamen in East China's Fujian province has seen burgeoning development in film, television and cultural tourism.

Siming Cinema, built in the 1920s by returned overseas Chinese, reopened to the public at the end of September after two years of renovations.

Located in the downtown area of Siming district, the movie theater was the first of its kind to offer opera performances and movies in Xiamen. Over a century, it has witnessed the growth of generations and the evolution of local culture.

According to the local authority, the repair work required for the renovation is the largest of its kind since the building's establishment.

"The renovation of old structures is more difficult than building a new one," said Shi Lei, a staff member of the engineering team of ITG Real Estate, the company in charge of the renovation.

"We have removed concrete layer by layer to find the original markings of the characters of Siming Cinema, and then copied these for renovation," Shi said.

As time passed, the plaque featuring the characters of Siming Cinema was covered by concrete. But now the cinema has its original characters back again alongside its arcade architectural style.

Moreover, rolls of black and white film reels in its interior decorations are used to show the vintage style and glamor of the cinema.

According to the engineering team, this renovation work has upgraded six private suites on the second and third floors of the cinema. All these suites have been equipped with comfortable chairs and modern projectors.

In addition to Siming, neighboring Huli district has also seen rapid growth in the integrated development of the film and culture industry.

In recent years, taking opportunities from Xiamen's hosting of the Golden Rooster Awards, Huli district has achieved rapid growth in the film and TV industry.

Official data showed that, the district is home to more than 700 film and TV businesses and has produced nearly 80 film and TV works. Each year, dozens of groups choose Huli as their shooting destination.

"The beautiful scenery in Huli helps to create a nice background for movies and TV series. Meanwhile, scenic spots selected for film shooting have attracted tourists," said an official from the Huli district's publicity department.

"In Huli, we have seen the integrated development of film and cultural tourism," the official said.

To support the industrial integrated development, Huli district has gone the extra mile in upgrading its services.

Huli has created special services for casts and crews at every scenic shooting spot.

The district government has set up a coordination working group for the film and TV industry. It has rolled out a series of policies and improved related institutions to attract more crews.

Joining hands with local businesses, the district government launched the Xiamen International Film and Television Industry Forum in 2017. The annual forum gathers industry leaders to share insights into promoting the development of film and TV culture.

"The flourishing culture industry requires cooperation between the government and businesses, and the two should respond to the integration of film and tourism to contribute to the construction of a cultural powerhouse," a local official said.


Siming Cinema, a century-old movie theater located in Siming district of Xiamen, reopens to the public in September. CHINA DAILY

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