With sadness we inform you that at the age of 99, the grand lady of Chinese children’s cinema ‘Madam Yu Lan’ passed away on 27th June in Beijing.
Born in 1921, Yu Lan started her acting career in the 1940’s and became one of the most famous Chinese actresses throughout the 1950s and 60s. Since 1981, Madam Yu devoted herself entirely to children’s film. As founder of the China Children’s Film Studio (CCFS), the China Children’s Film Association (CCFA), and the China Int’l Children’s Film Festival (CICFF), she was widely recognized as the pioneer of Chinese children’s cinema.
Under the impulse of Madam Yu, the Chinese children’s film community reached out internationally, becoming an active member of CIFEJ, with Madam Yu serving as board member from 1988 till 1994. For her outstanding contribution to children’s cinema, she was granted a CIFEJ Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014.
Xiaojuan Zhou (Attraction Distribution): “I first met Madam Yu Lan in the 90s, being her translator during CIFEJ meetings. She was a permanent fixture in Chinese film festivals, dedicating several decades of her life to Chinese children’s cinema. She brought Chinese children’s films abroad but also encouraged the screening of international quality titles for children in China.” How will she be remembered by the industry? Xiaojuan Zhou: “Veterans of the international children’s film community all speak about her with high regards. Many Chinese professionals last week expressed on WeChat their adoration for this passionate lady. I myself posted a picture of a silk blouse that she gave me as a present 15 years ago with a personal note from her, that I kept and cherished all those years.”
On this occasion ECFA sends its condolences to the family of Madam Yu Lan and to the entire Chinese children’s film community.