Film buffs have snapped up passes granting unlimited access to screenings of this year's Hong Kong International Film Festival. The super value pass, which costs $1,200, went on sale on Saturday and has sold out. And there were only about five of the $3,000 VIP passes left by yesterday afternoon. Organisers had released about 30 passes each. Heavy traffic generated by interest in the festival had also crashed the festival's webpage. Festival director Peter Tsi Ka-kei said it was an excellent and unexpected response, given that this year's passes were more expensive than last year's $1,000 super value pass and $2,500 VIP pass. 'We expected them to be gone quickly but not this quickly,' he said. 'It's probably because this year's programme selection is better and it's actually more convenient than booking tickets to each screening separately.' Mr Tsi hoped regular ticket sales would improve. Last year more than 70,000 tickets were sold and over 70 per cent of seats were filled. But because the dates of the festival, March 22 to April 6, have been moved to fit in with the Entertainment Expo, which will be held in the same period, Mr Tsi said some of the shows could not be held at the Cultural Centre, the festival's largest screening venue. 'Because of this we have lost about a week's screenings,' he said. In response to festival-goers' complaints about a doubling in the size of the programme booklet, Mr Tsi said this was done intentionally. 'We want people to carry it around in their hands instead of putting it in their bags. This can help create an atmosphere for the festival. In fact a few years ago people complained about us shrinking the size of the booklet,' he said. The festival has invited more than 100 guests from around the world to attend. These include Japanese screen master Yoji Yamada, who cancelled his trip to Hong Kong in 2003 because of Sars, to present the opening film, The Hidden Blade; Japanese actor Arata; director Sumiko Haneda, whose film Into the Picture Scroll is featured in the master class section; mainland director Tian Zhuangzhuang; and closing film Words In Blue's director Alain Corneau from France.