The Hong Kong International Film Festival presents five competition sections with the award winners decided by distinguished jury members consisting of renowned film industry professionals, film critics, directors and talent. The winners of the awards will be announced at the 40th HKIFF Awards Gala Ceremony.

  1. Firebird Awards - Young Cinema Competition
  2. Firebird Awards - Documentary Competition
  3. Firebird Awards - Short Film Competition
  4. FIPRESCI Prize
  5. SIGNIS Award
  • Young Cinema Competition

    Our aim with the Young Cinema Competition was to champion bold visions in filmmaking, which present a window on the world through the perspective of a strong and original voice.

    Young Cinema Competition Jury
      Sylvia Chang was born in Taiwan in 1953. She is one of Asia’s foremost female filmmakers and has received consistent acclaim as an actress, screenwriter, director and producer. She made nearly 100 films in her four-decade career. She twice won both the Golden Horse Award and the Hong Kong Film Award for Best Actress. Selected Filmography (as director): Passion (86), Siao Yu (95), Tempting Heart (99), 20 30 40 (04), Run Papa Run (08), Murmur of the Hearts (15).
      Denis Côté was born in New Brunswick, Canada in 1973. Since 97, Denis has produced and directed 15 short films which have been screened at many international film festivals. A journalist and film critic until 2005, he directed his first feature film Les États nordiques (05), which won the Locarno Golden Leopard Award. Selected Filmography: Nos vies privées (07), Elle veut le chaos (08), Carcasses (09), The Enemy Lines (10, short), Curling (10), Bestiaires (12), Boris Without Beatrice (16).
      Dai Jinhua was born in Beijing, China and graduated from the Chinese Department of The Peking University. She has been teaching at the Institute of Comparative Literature and Culture of The Peking University since 1993, and is the Director of the Institute of Film and Culture at the University. She specializes in film, mass media and gender studies. She has visited and lectured widely in Asia, Europe and North America, and has published over ten works and essays with editions in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Japanese and Korean.
      Ian Haydn Smith is the editor of Curzon and BFI Filmmakers magazines. He is formerly the editor of the International Film Guide (2007-13) and the 24 Frames to World Cinema series. A London-based writer, he is also the editor of the BFI London Film Festival and Flare programmes. He regularly hosts BAFTA master classes and has represented the British Council internationally since 2011. His most recent book is New British Cinema: From Submarine to 12 Years a Slave.
    Nominees: Barakah Meets Barakah, I, Olga Hepnarova, The Island Funeral, Life After Life, Nakom, Old Stone, Tomcat, Zud. 


    Firebird Award

    Life After Life / directed by Zhang Hanyi

    Jury’s comment: The Firebird Award is given to a film that is bold in its cinematographic technique, uncompromising in its vision of society and employing an impressive formal aesthetic. That film is Life After Life, directed by Zhang Hanyi.


    Jury Prize

    Tomcat / directed by Händl Klaus

    Jury’s comment: The Jury Prize, awarded to a film brimming with ambition in its account of the precariousness of human relationships, both in life and work, goes to Tomcat, directed by Händl Klaus.



  • Documentary Competition

    The Hong Kong International Film Festival considers documentaries addressing social issues with aesthetical significance as an essential component of any meaningful film festival. The Documentary Competition is a salute to filmmakers around the world for their devotion to the documentary form and its languages.

    Documentary Competition Jury
      Yang Li-Chou was born in 1969. He graduated from the Graduate Institute of Sound and Image Studies in Documentary at Tainan National University of the Arts. His My Football Summer (06) won Best Documentary at the Golden Horse Awards. Selected Filmography: I Love 080 (99), Someone Else’s Shinjuku East (03), Beyond the Arctic (08), The Long Goodbye (10), Young at Heart: Grandma Cheerleaders (11), Bridge over Troubled Water (13), The Moment (14).
      Judith Pernin is a film researcher focusing on the documentary form. After curating a Paris-based festival on independent films from Mainland China (2006-2008), she completed her PhD at the School for Advanced Studies in Social Science in Paris, and became a postdoctoral fellow at the CEFC in Hong Kong. She is the author of a monograph, Independent Practices of Documentary in China (PUR, 2015), and the co-editor of Post-1990 Documentaries, Reconfiguring Independence (Edinburgh UP, 2015).
      Oscar Ho Hing-kay was formerly the Exhibition Director of the Hong Kong Arts Centre, Senior Research Officer in Cultural Policy for the Hong Kong Government, and the Founding Director of Museum of Contemporary Art in Shanghai. He has curated numerous local and overseas exhibitions on the arts of Hong Kong, Mainland China and South East Asian art. He is currently the director of the MA and BA Programmes in Cultural Management at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
    Nominees: Behemoth, City of Jade, Eldorado XXI, Land of the Enlightened, Mariupolis, Those Who Jump, Unter the Sun, The Witness. 


    Firebird Award 

    Behemoth / directed by Zhao Liang

    Jury’s comment: With strongly disturbing imagery, Zhao Liang leads the people through Hell with extreme anxiety, yet Heaven is just another appearance of Purgatory. If we are the accomplices, who is the devil?


    Jury Prize

    Under the Sun / directed by Vitaly Mansky

    Jury’s comment: Under the rigorous manipulation of the DPRK government, director Mansky captures the absurdities within the fabricated perfect image of North Korea. Genuine human emotions can be seen through a child by contrasting the real with the unreal.



  • Short Film Competition

    The Hong Kong International Film Festival Short Film Competition supports the production and re-invention of the short film, a form with its own formal, aesthetic and expressive qualities distinct from those of the feature. It is also a platform for international and local short film directors to exchange visions and ideas.

    Short Film Competition Jury
      John Canciani is the artistic director of the Internationale Kurzfilmtage Winterthur and is programmer at the Cinema Cameo in Winterthur. He curated several programs with short and feature films: “Moving Art II – O Cinema where are thou?“, “Heavy Metal“, “VROOOM!“, “Who’s afraid of the Public?“, “Independent Cinema USA: 9/11“, “Wonderland has transformed into Walt Disney's Nightmare“, “Women in early Japanese Film“, “Tattoo im Film“, "Blow-Up, der voyeuristische Blick", Retrospectives of George Mélies, Ivan Ladislav Galeta, H.R. Giger, Christoph Girardet & others. He has worked as a programmer for the Swiss Youth Film Festival and Kurz und Knapp.
      Kiki Fung is Head Programmer for the Brisbane Asia Pacific Film Festival and held the same position for its predecessor, the Brisbane International Film Festival. Currently, she also advises on the Asia Pacific Screen Awards competition. She has been Film Curator for the Brisbane Festival, and Film Program Manager for the Melbourne International Arts Festival. Before moving to Australia in 2010, she worked for the Hong Kong Film Archive for 7 years. She served on the FIPRESCI jury for the HKIFF in 2009 and was on the juries for Australia’s South Australian Screen Awards and ATOM Awards in 2013. She is a member of the Hong Kong Film Critics Society. Her recent articles were included in The Cinema of Wong Kar-wai and Naruse Mikio, 110th Anniversary.
      Amos WHY is a Hong Kong native and he has been writing for newspapers and magazines since 17. He graduated from the Film and Television department of HKAPA and held a Master degree in Multimedia Studies. He has been a writer-director for RTHK’s documentaries and TV series since 2001. He co-wrote Ultra Reinforcement with comedian-director Lam Tsz-chung in 2011 and directed his first feature Dot 2 Dot in 2014.
    Nominees: Land Tides, In the Soldier's Head, The Big Dam, Love, Ten Meter Tower, Prelude to the General, An Old Dog's Diary, The Reflection of Power, Anchorage Prohibited, Edmond, Splintertime, Mums on Fire, Vita Lakamaya, MY FORM, Our Sea, EXOMOON, Batrachian's Ballad, The Same River Twice, Estate, The Floating Chopin.


    Firebird Award

    Batrachian’s Ballad / directed by Leonor Teles

    Jury’s comment: Behind a seemingly simple film is a clever and profound narrative offering a historical and political allegory that articulates an important humanistic message through humor. Batrachian’s Ballad reminds us of cinema’s power to be free, inventive and to speak for the oppressed.


    Jury Prize

    Prelude to the General / directed by Pimpaka Towira

    Jury’s comment: A film set between the present and the past, which blurs the narrative structure by suggesting secrets between the protagonists. They seem to know more than the viewer, keeping the tension of the film like the Sword of Damocles, leading us into a mystic world full of desires. This film has a strong cinematic vision by blending the concept and visuals into a compelling union.


  • FIPRESCI Prize

    The Hong Kong International Film Festival considers documentaries addressing social issues with aesthetical significance as an essential component of any meaningful film festival. The Documentary Competition is a salute to filmmakers around the world for their devotion to the documentary form and its languages.

    FIPRESCI Prize Jury
      Anita Piotrowska is a Polish film critic of Tygodnik Powszechny weekly magazine. She also writes for Kino magazine and for psychological monthly Charaktery. She is a co-author of many books on film. She worked as a jury member at such film festivals as Karlovy Vary, Istanbul, Moscow, Ankara, Oberhausen, T-Mobile New Horizons, Off Plus Camera, Planete+ Doc. She is the member of a Programme Council of Krakow Film Festival and specializes in selection of documentaries. In 2014 received a prize of Polish Film Institute. She lives in Krakow.
      Stephen Teo is Associate Professor of the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. He is the author of Hong Kong Cinema: The Extra Dimensions (97), Wong Kar-wai (05), King Hu’s A Touch of Zen (07), Director in Action: Johnnie To and the Hong Kong Action Film (07), Chinese Martial Arts Cinema: The Wuxia Tradition (09, 2nd Edition 16), The Asian Cinema Experience: Styles, Spaces, Theory (13).
      LAM Kam Po is a Hong Kong film critic who has written for newspapers and magazines since 1988. He worked on newspapers and magazines as editor. He has also lectured on film and journalism in a few universities. He is the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Hong Kong Film Critics Society and Art Advisor of Hong Kong Arts Development Council.
    Nominees: Autohead, Barakah Meets Barakah, Hee, I, Olga Hepnarova, The Island Funeral, Life After Life, Nakom, The Name of the Whale, Old Stone, Tomcat, Viaje, Zud. 


    FIPRESCI Prize

    The Island Funeral / directed by Pimpaka Towira

    Jury’s comment: We liked the use of geography and space to denote social and religious diversities. We also were impressed with the atmosphere of mystery, poetic imagery and the message of hope. 


  • SIGNIS Award

    The SIGNIS Award is presented annually by SIGNIS to recognise the excellence of professionals in the film industry, including directors, actors, and writers. Co-organised with SIGNIS Hong Kong, it is a salute to films that fully express social and humanitarian concerns, as well as spiritual and artistic values. HKIFF selects twelve nominees and the SIGNIS jury comprised of three renowned personalities selects the winner of the SIGNIS Award. The Awards are identified by the SIGNIS logo.

    SIGNIS Award Jury
      Edgar Rubio is a Mexican film critic. He got a Master Degree in Humanities at the Iberoamericana University and in Communication at the Loyola del Pacifico University. He studied and did research in Film, Communication, Language and History at different universities and institutes. He has participated in several projects in the field of pastoral communication with the native (indigenous) communities in the mountains of Guerrero. He was General Secretary of the National Council of Laymen, Coordinator of the “Faith, Dialogue, Culture” Program at Loyola del Pacifico University.
      Matsumoto Jumpei is a Japanese film director, born in 1984 in Nagasaki. He graduated from Department of Architecture in Tokyo University, and studied at the Institute of Yoshimoto Comedian School. In 2012, he marked his directorial debut Still Human Beings. His second film Embers (2014) was released in Japan and Taiwan. The film was based on the novel written by Nakamura Fuminori who is the most popular novelist in Japan, with Yagira Yuya as the leading actor. Matsumoto won the Best Screenplay Award at NY Chelsea Film Festival 2014.
      LEE Ka-man is an Assistant Professor at Hong Kong Shue Yan University. Graduated with a PhD in Journalism, she contributes as commentator and host for TV at Radio Television Hong Kong and Cable Television. She is also a regular columnist at Hong Kong Economic Journal. She worked as the Assistant News Editor in Television Broadcasting Ltd. In 2015, she directed a documentary film The Impact, which was invited to the Postgraduate class of the University of Leipzig, Germany.

    Nominees: André's EyesBabai, Barakah Meets Barakah, A Childhood, Land of Mine, Nahid, Nakom, Old Stone, Remember, Truman, A War, The White Knights. 




    Land of Mine / directed by Martin Zandvliet  

    Jury’s comment: A man degraded by the War discovers compassion for a group of young German soldiers consigned to clear a beautiful landscape infested with mines. A powerful metaphor about the promise of coming home and search for hope in the hellish aftermath of the Second World War.  


    Special Mention

    Truman / directed by Cesc Gay  

    Jury’s comment: Truman shows in a humorous manner how people miss their families, friends, colleagues, and even those they have crossed when they are facing death, and how they learn to reflect on themselves and listen to their hearts.