Founded on 13 June 2013, the Shanghai Film Distribution and Exhibition Association has nearly 300 member organisations, more than 10 cinema chains and nearly 250 cinemas throughout the city, as well as e-commerce platforms such as WePiao and Kangou.cn; film production companies such as Sammo Hung Films and Tencent Pictures; and film distribution companies such as SMG Pictures and Fundamental Films.
Since its establishment, the Association has held a number of film screenings of overseas art films and Chinese contemporary film masterpieces. In July 2013, the Association launched the Shanghai Art Film Federation, and hosted a South Korean Film Festival, a Japanese Film Festival and a New Zealand Film Festival, successfully introducing Shanghai and even China's outstanding art films to Japan, South Korea, the United States, Singapore and other countries.
2017 marks the 45th anniversary of the normalisation of Sino-Japanese relations. On August 11, the Shanghai Art Film Federation officially launched the "Chinese Art Film Festival 2017" in Kanazawa, Japan. This Film Festival is the first effort made by the Shanghai Film Distribution and Exhibition Association and the Shanghai Art Film Federation towards Sino-Japanese exchange activities. Takuya Sanzawa, a young Japanese director, took a particular interest in Something in Blue directed by Yunbo Li, a young Chinese director. He made a long journey from Tokyo to Kanazawa when he heard that the film would be shown at the Festival. Films by both directors have been shown at the Beijing International Film Festival's "Forward Future" section, creating a strong connection between them.
Many of the film showings have been attended by dignitaries, such as the New Zealand Prime Minister John Key, US congresswoman Judy May Chu, and Seiji Kihara, Japan's Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs.
In addition to promote the screening of art films, the Shanghai Art Film Federation shows high-quality Chinese art films every Friday evening and Saturday morning, making art films a regular part of the Shanghai Film Festival.