HKIFF 40 Years

HKIFF at 40

The Hong Kong International Film Festival held its first edition in 1977 at a time when there were no other comparable festivals in the region. Since that time, we have inspired and influenced other festivals, helped to spread the knowledge and discovery of Hong Kong, Chinese-language and Asian cinema around the world. We have brought international cinema in all its forms to our local audiences. We have contributed to Hong Kong’s film culture and the promotion of Hong Kong cinema overseas.

We are proud of our accomplishment but know that we cannot rest on our laurels. At a time when film festivals proliferate, and disruptive digital technologies abound, we have opened up new avenues and strategies to nurture both filmmakers and audiences.

For example, our Hong Kong-Asia Film Financing Forum (HAF) will hold its 14th edition as one of the main project markets in Asia. We recently introduced the Project Hub where every HAF applicant can put their project on-line for industry professionals to explore for potential production and investment.

HKIFF originated the Asian Film Awards (AFA), which annually celebrates Asian cinema and its talents. Now in its 10th year, the AFA is organised by the AFA Academy which was set up in late 2013 as an unprecedented partnership between the Busan, Hong Kong and Tokyo international film festivals. The Academy is responsible for the AFA, and year round activities that include master-classes, roadshows of Asian films, student visits to film festivals, and so on.

Since 2010, we have produced the Quattro and Beautiful themed-anthologies of short films by established directors as a way of showcasing talents across Asia. Many of Asia’s major directors have supported these annual series which have shown in different festivals around the world, and gained millions of views on youku/tudou on-line platforms in China.

These are just some of the wide-ranging activities that we have developed in order to extend our engagement with film culture.

I first ran the HKIFF in the late 1970s and then returned in 2010 which I sometimes joke makes me both the youngest and the oldest director of the festival. In between I have been its consultant, advisor, juror, and just plain attendee. It is an event that has been around for most of my adult life. With that long association, I am honoured to lead HKIFF into its 40th year, and personally grateful that HKIFF helped turn my boyhood passion for cinema into a way of life by opening up avenues in festivals, writing, and film production. My much missed friend, the French critic Serge Daney, told me early on that the cinema was a meeting place. HKIFF has been where I met filmmakers, films, ideas – experiences that will last a lifetime. I remember the many friends, many happily still with us and sadly some who have passed on, who helped us come this far. It has been a privilege to have known them all, and to help support the dreams and desires of filmmakers and cinephiles alike.

Thank you HKIFF, and may you have many more great years to come.

Roger Garcia
Executive Director
Hong Kong International Film Festival Society
Asian Film Awards Academy