The 44th Hong Kong International Film Festival (HKIFF) has been postponed to August due to the global COVID-19 outbreak. The festival’s organizer – the Hong Kong International Film Festival Society (HKIFFS) – made the announcement on Thursday (Feb 13).
Earlier that same day, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council said that Hong Kong's Filmart – Asia's largest film and television content market will also be shifting its original dates from Mar 25-28 to Aug 27-29.
“The HKIFF’s two flagship events, both scheduled to start in less than six weeks, will be postponed to the summer of 2020. However, the April/May edition of the year-round Cine Fan repertory program has been cancelled (outright),” said HKIFFS executive director Albert Lee in a statement.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, new specific dates for HKIFF have yet to be determined. “We hope to be able to share more information regarding a postponed HKIFF44 following discussions with screenings venues, as well as our many stakeholders, partners and sponsors,” said Lee.
The Hong Kong Asia Film Financing Forum, better known as HAF, and held within the perimeter of the Filmart trade show, would also be postponed.
The postponements follow the recent cancellation of other high-profile international cultural events in the city, such as Art Basel and Art Central, both of which were slated to be held in March. A decision on whether to postpone the Hong Kong Sevens rugby event, a global sporting occasion held in the city each April, is still pending.
“Plans are on track to hold HAF18 during the 24th edition of Filmart,” said HAF director Jacob Wong. “We are still going ahead with HAF Goes to Cannes which takes place during Cannes Film Festival in May. We will announce the selected projects for this initiative in late March.”
The outbreak of the coronavirus – recently named COVID-19 by the World Health Organization – has affected people and events globally. Berlin's European Film Market has been hit with heavy cancellations from industry professionals in China and across Asia.