Hong Kong International Film Festival

Hong Kong film festival tipped to draw its biggest crowds yet

PUBLISHED : Friday, 22 February, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 22 February, 2008, 12:00am

The 32nd Hong Kong International Film Festival may break its attendance record next month with its 300 films from 55 countries, including some nominated for the Oscars.

Festival chairman Wilfred Wong Ying-wai hopes attendance will exceed 120,000, with more screenings than last year.

Last year 118,000 tickets were sold, raking in more than HK$5 million in box-office takings.

The festival starts on March 17 and runs until April 6, with 11 cinemas taking part, including the Grand Theatre at the Cultural Centre, the Space Museum's Lecture Hall and The Grand Cinema at the new Elements shopping centre above Kowloon MTR.

Japanese film Kabei, directed by Yoji Yamada, and Taiwan's Soul of a Demon, directed by Chang Tso-chi, will open the festival. It will close with Shine a Light, Martin Scorsese's much-anticipated documentary about the Rolling Stones, and local film Coffee or Tea, co-directed by Shu Kei and Kwan Man-hin.

Some renowned filmmakers are expected to attend, including director Yoji Yamada and actor Asano Tadanobu from Kabei, and Sergei Bodrov, director of Mongol, a favourite for the Academy Award for best foreign language film.

The festival will also showcase The Counterfeiters by Stefan Ruzowitzky and Joseph Cedar's Beaufort, two other Oscar-nominated foreign-language films. San Sebastian Film Festival winner A Thousand Years of Good Prayers and its companion piece, The Princess of Nebraska by Hong Kong-born, Hollywood-based Wayne Wang, will also be screened.

Online and postal bookings for the festival open tomorrow, while box office sales through Urbtix begin on March 6.

The Asian Film Awards, celebrating excellence in Asian cinema, are to be held on opening day. The Hong Kong Asia Film Financing Forum, a film financing platform, will run from March 17 to 19.