The HK Festival, including the Cinema Hong Kong programme, grew its numbers by more than 10% in its fourth edition. Double digit growth in present times is an impressive feat for a festival, with other festivals reporting participation this year in the region of +/- 3%.
The festival’s varied programme, including a couple of business-focused events, is run by the Hong Kong New Zealand Business Association. For the last two years, the Hong Kong Festival has won awards at the world congress of Hong Kong’s national business associations for its innovative programme.
The festival’s focus is on links between Hong Kong and NZ, and the festival is presented with support from Hong Kong’s Economic Trade Office (HKETO) and the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), both of which also support the annual Filmart event in March.
As for the cinema programme, screening mostly on 35mm for the last time, audiences were up by 15% overall, with the best-attended screening being a 1980s Shaw Brothers feature.
Festival Director Raymond Suen said that the transition to digital distribution in Hong Kong might make it easier next year to source films closer to their HK release dates, which was important in drawing a larger share of younger audiences.
In 2010 the festival opened with Benny Chan’s City Under Siege, screening here the same week it opened in Hong Kong and drawing strong audiences.