The Hong Kong Asian Film Festival has always provided a unique and bold platform for Chinese-language cinema. It not only opens the doors for new Hong Kong directors, but creates a platform on which the most exciting new Asian films can be screened for local audiences. ?
The first HKAFF was three years ago. Upon its creation, the festival programmers set themselves the goal of always opening with a debut film from a local director. This year, opening nights film is Lee Kung-lok’s "My Mother is a Belly Dancer". The film focuses on bored housewives who fill the void in their lives by learning the title dance. In 2004, opening night debut was Adam Wong Sau-ping’s "When Beckham Met Owen", and in 2005 it was Mathew Tang’s "b420". ??
Risky Liu’s "Reunion", another debut at this year’s HKAFF, is a local self-funded production shot on DVCam. It is eligible for the New Talent Award, competing against films from Japan, Korea, Malaysia and Taiwan. ??
HKAFF also has introduced a new programme this year entitled "Local Power". It screens mostly short films, with the aim of discovering the next generation of Hong Kong directors. ??
There will be three different screenings in "Local Power", each containing a selection of short films. The first screening includes: "Wonderful Times" directing by Kubert Leung, shot on Betacam, and centring about a group of lonely people whose lives are jolted by a homicide – "Taped", directed by Szeto Wing-wah and shot on DV, stars Maggie Q and Carl Ng as two camera enthusiasts – and "Missing" directed by Kit Hui and shot on 35mm about a man searching for his missing girlfriend. ?
The second screening in "Local Power" includes four films from Frank Hui Hok-man, "Wasted", "The Uniform", "Break" and "Out of Focus". Hui is a graduate of The School of Film/TV of the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts. "Wasted" previously took the Best Film Award at the inaugural HKIFF Fresh Wave Joint-U Short Film Competition. ??
The third and last screening of short films in "Local Power" contains four pieces which together form a TV series commissioned by RTHK. They all focus on the theme of "growing up". The programme includes Tsang Kwok-cheung’s "The Interpretation of Dreams", Yan-yan Mak’s "The Interpretation of Dreams", Tam Kwok-ming’s "My First Melody", and "Bicycle Diaries". ?
The "China in Focus" programme features five documentaries, include Jia Zhang-ke’s "Dong", in which twelve construction workers become the models for a series of oil paintings created by Liu Xiaodong. ??
Last year’s HKAFF registered that 82 percent of all cinema seats where filled for the duration of the festival. ??
Festival sponsors for 2006 where JVC, Focus Films, Festival Walk and JAL, and HKAFF’s working partner is Broadway Cinematheque. ??
The 2006 Hong Kong Asian Film Festival runs from the 23rd of September to the 8th of October.