Header image courtesy of Hong Kong International Film Festival (via Facebook)
As an art and cultural hub in Asia, we get to enjoy a plethora of film festivals in Hong Kong. Each film festival seeks to showcase films across various genres and mediums, whether it’s documentaries, short films, animations, or full-length features. We’re definitely spoilt for choice here! Get your cinematic fix at these film festivals in Hong Kong.
The Hong Kong International Film Festival is one of the oldest film festivals in Asia and one of Hong Kong’s largest cultural events for filmmakers, creatives, and film enthusiasts. The festival screens over 280 titles from 50 countries in various venues in the city. HKIFF is managed by the Hong Kong International Film Society (HKIFFS), a charitable, non-profit, and non-governmental organisation with a mission to showcase the very best of world cinema in Hong Kong, as well as promote Asian cinema to the world.
Organised by the Hong Kong Asian Film Festival Society, this film festival is dedicated to showcasing the best local and Asian films, as well as promoting the craft of filmmaking. The Hong Kong Asian Film Festival brings Asian films to the city and serves as a platform to exchange ideas regarding cinema and showcase new and upcoming filmmakers.
Full-length feature films seem to always get the spotlight, but at the Fresh Wave International Short Film Festival, short films are front and centre. Led by founder and chairman Johnnie To, the film festival cultivates emerging filmmakers through funding support and a platform to enhance their technical skills through training. These young talents and their work have gone on to screen at other local and international film festivals. Successful examples include Tang Yi, the director of All the Crows in the World, which became the first Hong Kong film to take home the Palme d’Or for the Short Film category at the Cannes Film Festival.
Founded in 1953, the Hong Kong French Film Festival is the oldest film festival in the city. Organised by Alliance Française de Hong Kong, the film festival brings the latest French films to Hong Kong. In 1972, the festival became a regular annual event and has since screened more than 1,600 French films. The aim is to promote and highlight the evolution of French cinema, from influential New Wave films to today’s arthouse blockbusters.
Hong Kong Lesbian & Gay Film Festival was founded by playwright Edward Lam in 1989 and sponsored by the Hong Kong Arts Centre. It was held annually until 1998, when it was cancelled due to low ticket sales. In 2000, film producer Wouter Barendrecht and director Ray Yeung resurrected the film festival. They created the Hong Kong Lesbian & Gay Film Festival Society in 2001, so that the film festival could find its own funding and not be reliant on Hong Kong Arts Centre.
The festival presents contemporary and historical films that focus on LGBTQ topics in Hong Kong and around the world. Its wider mission is to promote equal opportunities and eliminate discrimination against sexual minority groups in the city through cinematic works.
The Hong Kong Jewish Film Festival is Asia’s flagship Jewish festival, showing the best Jewish-themed films from around the world. Established in 2000, the festival screens features, documentaries, and short films from 30 countries. The cinematic selection offers an insight into the diversity of Jewish life and culture. It usually takes place over two weeks and sometimes hosts directors, producers, critics, and curators.
Enjoying movies at the cinema isn’t just for adults, but also for kids and teens! Since its inception in 2017, the Hong Kong Kids International Film Festival aims to show how films act as a powerful medium for cultural learning and artistic inspiration. Through the movies shown, the festival hopes that young viewers can appreciate different cultures and arts. It also offers them an insight into the film industry and allows them to broaden their horizons!
Hong Kong Arthouse Film Festival is one of the newer film festivals on the list. Founded in 2015 as an online festival, it aims to support filmmakers regardless of the type of films they create, promoting the art of filmmaking as a medium. The festival celebrates the best of contemporary and independent filmmaking across a variety of genres, whether it’s drama, experimental, comedy, horror, sci-fi, animation, documentary, or otherwise.