A property developer was accused yesterday of pulling out of sponsoring the Hong Kong Film Awards, leaving organisers struggling for funding. The organisers believe the withdrawal was related to a cooling-off of talks on the West Kowloon cultural district project. The Hong Kong Film Awards Association said that around last October one of the three cultural hub contenders offered to sponsor the event but pulled out at the end of December. Chairman Manfred Wong refused to name the developer, but said the sponsorship was almost finalised when it fell through. 'We feel that this could be because the discussion on the West Kowloon [cultural district] cooled down by the end of December,' he said, adding the pullout was a disruption. Cheung Kong (Holdings) and Sino Land said they had not offered sponsorship. Henderson Land could not be reached for comment. Mr Wong said the association had struggled to finance this year's event, to be held at the Hong Kong Coliseum on March 27. He said sponsorship from Pepsi was only confirmed at the very last minute. He said in January that the event budget was $4 million. The Television and Entertainment Licensing Authority had come up with $1.5 million and the Home Affairs Bureau offered $500,000, he said, adding the association had also secured other commercial sponsors. For the first time, $100,000 would be given for the best new director. This year's awards also will be open to the public for the first time. Of 7,000 seats, about 1,000 have been reserved for mainland tourists with the China Travel Agency. Some 1,500 tickets sent to the bureau would be offered to the Hong Kong Federation of Youth and film students. Free tickets are available from 9am on Sunday at the Cultural Centre's information centres in Tsim Sha Tsui and City Hall. Meanwhile, Leslie Cheung Kwok-wing and Maggie Cheung Man-yuk have been voted 'my favourite male and female actors (post-1980s)'. The 'Polling on a Century of Hong Kong Cinema', organised by RTHK, received almost 1,000 votes for each of the 12 categories. Stephen Chow Sing-chi and Sandra Ng Kwan-yu were voted 'the funniest male and female actors'. Director John Woo's A Better Tomorrow was crowned 'the most unforgettable film'.