TOUGHER criteria for film awards are to be introduced in an attempt to salvage the industry, which a leading director yesterday warned was in a state of terminal decline. A more rigorous judging procedure will also be introduced to acknowledge higher professional standards. Hong Kong Film Awards Association chairman Ng See-yuen said movie-goers had lost their enthusiasm for films because of declining quality. 'Movie-goers are getting sick of the same old actors and actresses featuring in the same kind of films,' he said. 'This situation is created by the people in the film industry themselves.' There had been an 'abnormal development' in the past two years and Southeast Asia had been flooded with low quality films, he said. 'The maximum number of films which Hong Kong and the Southeast Asia region can accommodate each year is about 200,' he said. 'But there were more than 400 films produced in Hong Kong alone in 1994.' Mr Ng warned the industry had not reached the lowest point. He suggested cutting the number of circuits - or chains of cinemas - from five to three would be a good way to revive the industry and improve standards. A smaller number of circuits would absorb a smaller number of new releases and force cinemas to select only the best films. It was crucial actors became more discriminating in the roles they chose and only participated in good quality productions, Mr Ng said. He hoped the newly revised voting regulations for the 15th Hong Kong Film Awards would help boost morale. A total of 15 awards will be presented for acting, cinematography, action cinematography, art direction, costume and makeup. Greater emphasis will be given to the choices of professional groups in their own categories. The vice-chairman of the newly established Hong Kong Film Arts Association, James Leung Wah-sang, said the new regulations would help establish rapport and understanding between different associations. The awards, to be co-produced by the Hong Kong Film Awards Association and ATV, will be held in April at the Academy for Performing Arts.