13 Mar - While most festivals still opted to be held online, the 45th Hong Kong International Film Festival (HKIFF) is set to have a hybrid version of its event this April.
HKIFF Society executive director Albert Lee, who spoke about the decision to hold both virtual and in-theatre screenings and events for this year's edition, stated, "While our belief in watching films communally on a big screen is unwavering, recent lockdowns and social distancing measures have accelerated our need to explore uncharted waters by embracing an additional online component."
"The programme is well balanced and covers a broad spectrum, from rarely-seen silent classics to contemporary filmmakers' latest work. I am particularly thrilled to note that the festival will open with two significant Hong Kong films for the first time in recent years," he added, as reported on Variety.
It was previously reported that Philip Yeung's new movie, "Where the Wind Blows" and the anthology feature, "Septet: The Story of Hong Kong", will be opening the festival, while Berlinale's Silver Bear winner, "Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy", directed by Japanese director Hamaguchi Ryusuke will be closing the event.
"Septet" features the works of seven acclaimed directors including Sammo Hung, Johnnie To, Tsui Hark and the late Ringo Lam, has already attracted the attention of film festivals around the world, after being selected to be the opening film at festivals in Cannes and Busan.
The film contains seven separate self-contained highly personal stories from these filmmakers born in the 40s and 50s to reflect a Hong Kong that they had known, from the likes of Sammo's story about his childhood training in martial arts, the late Ringo Lam's poignant tribute to his hometown, Ann Hui's quietly moving ode to the educators, and Johnnie To's dark comedy about three friends' bonanza, as well as Patrick Tam's story of two lovers separated by one moving to England. Each one of the short films covers a different period in the city's recent history.
Director Stanley Kwan has been selected as HKIFF's Filmmaker in Focus, where 13 of his films will be part of a retrospective, while the filmmaker himself will participate in a seminar to discuss his career, craft and life in the public eye. Other films like Wong Kar Wai's recently restored "In the Mood for Love" will also receive gala presentations.
Movies to be lining up for competitions include Li Dongmei's "Mama", Christos Nikou's "Apples", as well as Ahmad Barami's "The Wasteland".
The Hong Kong International Film Festival will be held from 1st to 12th April.