Asia's answer to the Academy ready for action
It's lights, camera, action for Asia's answer to the academy behind the Oscars, with three of the region's most prominent film festivals pledging to promote the art form and cultivate talent through a new organisation.
The all-new Asian Film Awards Academy will take over the responsibility of presenting the Asian Film Awards, which was organised by Hong Kong alone in the past.
It will be run under the joint efforts of the Hong Kong International Film Festival, Busan International Film Festival in South Korea and Japan's Tokyo International Film Festival.
Plans are afoot to educate young talent and moviegoers, as well as initiatives to boost the exposure of young Asian filmmakers on the international stage.
"For example, if an important Korean director passes through Hong Kong, we can present a masterclass," Wilfred Wong Ying-wai, chairman of the Hong Kong International Film Festival Society, said.
The new academy will be a professional body for the regional industry, Wong said. It will be the Asian counterpart of industry bodies including the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which presents the Oscars, and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, which hands out the Bafta awards each year.
Lee Yong-kwan, director of the Busan festival, said more Asian players would be invited to join the academy in the future.
The news comes as movie fans gear up for the eight Asian Film Awards on Thursday. Macau plays host for the first time.
Wong gave the assurance that the awards would not be geared towards art-house or northern Asian films despite being backed by the three festivals.
He hoped the corresponding government of each festival would offer a few million Hong Kong dollars to form a start-up fund.
Hong Kong is already in talks with officials amid an upcoming review of the Film Development Fund, he said.