The Critics Jury focused on the "Young Cinema Competition" (made up of first and second films, internationally).
IFF Hong Kong is an important destination in the calendar of all connossieurs of Asian cinema. It offers a wide range of the newest films, which helps to give filmgoers a better orientation of the new paths and trends of the broad Eastern film territory. As the executive director of the festival, Roger Garcia stressed in the catalogue: "Although the number of festivals and films produced is vast and increasing, Hong Kong remains a reference point for balanced and curated film programming."
Hong Kong marked the 20th anniversary of HK Special Administrative Region this year and the festival programme presented a special selection of local films made in this period titled The Paradigm Shift: Post-97 Hong Kong Cinema. Another interesting insight to the presence of this pulsating cinema was the representative Hong Kong Panorama 2016-17, screening the helmers of HK cinema - The Mermaid by Stephen Chow or Three by Johnnie To as well as the handful of impressive debuts by the likes of Wong Chun (Mad World) or Zhang Jiajia (See You Tomorrow).
The retrospective programme marked the 10th anniversary of the passing of Edward Yang, who together with Hou Hsiao-Hsien, was a leading figure of new Taiwanese cinema in 80s. The screenings were held in the presence of screenwriter Yeh Li- Hsiao and Edward Yang's widow, concert pianist Kaili Peng.
Guests from Europe introduced their recently awarded films and talked about their experiences in masterclasses. The Hong Kong public had the chance to watch The Spoor and talk to Agnieszka Holland, On Body and Soul by Ildikó Enyedi and The Personal Shopper by Olivier Assayas.
Holland was also the head of international jury, together with Canadian film curator, producer and archivist Colin Geddes, French music writer and film critic Thomas Sotinel and Hong Kong actor and director Anthony Wong. This jury shared the films of Young Cinema Competition with the FIPRESCI jury and awarded the Georgian/German/France coproduction film My Happy Family by directoring duo Nana Ekvtimshvili and Simon Gross. FIPRESCI's choice was the South Korean comedy Happy Bus Day.
The Documentary Competition Tala Hadid's The House in the Fields, from Morocco, as the best film. The jury was headed by Mary Stephen, born in Hong Kong, settled in France and editor for Eric Rohmer for more than 20 years. Her collegues were documentarian Wood Lin, the programme director of Taiwan International Documentary Festival. The decision about the main festival award the Firebird, was taken also by Dean Napolitano, a Hong Kong based journalist, former Asia arts and culture editor for The Wall Street Journal. (Viera Langerová, edited by Amber Wilkinson)
Hong Kong International Film Festival: www.hkiff.org.hk