The Hong Kong International Film Festival Society (HKIFFS) has unveiled some of the highlights of its original programme for the 44th Hong Kong International Film Festival (HKIFF44), including the three world premieres which would have opened and closed the festival.
HKIFFS also confirms that this year’s Firebird Awards and FIPRESCI Prize competitions will proceed with online judging, with plans to announce the winners on 20th August.
The 14-day flagship HKIFF44, postponed from March, was scheduled to begin on 18th August. It was cancelled last week following the recent spike in COVID-19 infected cases in Hong Kong. HKIFFS Executive Director Albert Lee said the decision to announce the original programme is to pay tribute to filmmakers whose works merit continuous support and recognition. “We have come across many outstanding films during our year-long preparation for HKIFF44,” said Mr Lee. “By highlighting these films, we hope to promote and champion the art of cinema, even beyond the festival.”
HKIFF44 was due to kick off with the world premiere of two exceptional works from Hong Kong and Taiwan: Man Lim-chung’s Keep Rolling, an intimate documentary on the revered Hong Kong filmmaker Ann Hui, the recipient of a Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at this year’s Venice Film Festival, and Joseph Hsu’s Little Big Women, a heartrending family drama featuring an ensemble cast of prominent Taiwanese actresses. A third world premiere, The Cornered Mouse Dreams of Cheese, an empathetic adaptation of a popular anime series by the acclaimed Japanese director Yukisada Isao, starring Okura Tadayoshi and Narita Ryo, was to close the festival.
Several exciting new films were to showcase in HKIFF44’s Gala Premiere section. They include Days, Taiwanese master Tsai Ming-Liang’s Teddy Jury Award winner at Berlinale. Celebrated director Yonfan was to present a new director’s cut of No.7 Cherry Lane, his first foray into animation and the winner of Best Screenplay at last year’s Venice Film Festival. Equally intriguing was Shadows, a psychological crime thriller set in Hong Kong by Singaporean filmmaker Glenn Chan in his feature debut. Hong Kong director Kit Hung was to present his sophomore feature, Stoma, based on an autobiographical screenplay of the late cultural icon Julian Lee. Also under the spotlight was Dear Tenant by Taiwanese director Cheng Yu-Chieh, another thrilling drama with which Mo Tzu-Yi was named Best Actor at the Taipei Film Festival.
In the Firebird Awards competition, 42 films would vie for 12 awards in four categories – namely Young Cinema (World), Young Cinema (Chinese Language), Documentary and Short Film – and a panel of an Independent jury in each category will decide. Separately, a jury comprised of international film critics will award the FIPRESCI Prize to an outstanding film.
“We are actively looking into the possibility of including some of this year’s selection in future programming when Hong Kong returns to normal after the pandemic, especially those taking part in the Firebird Awards competition,” Mr Lee said.
HKIFF44 will run from 18th to 31st August 2020. Tickets will go on sale at all URBTIX outlets and online through www.hkiff.org.hk from 5th August 2020.