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Fest loses major sponsor

World Brief

HONG KONG — The executive director of the Hong Kong Intl. Film Fest Society has been knocking on a lot of doors lately.

What does Peter Tsi want? Money. The fest lost its main sponsor this year, just four months before its March 22 bow. “That’s very late,” Tsi says.

Tsi got word in late November that Hong Kong-based airline Cathay Pacific was shifting its focus to events more geared toward inbound tourists, he says.

The fest’s total budget comes in at HK$12 million ($1.5 million). The government, via the Arts Development Council, covers 60% of that, while Cathay Pacific, in its two years as a sponsor, accounted for one-fifth of the total budget, or about $308,000, Tsi says.

Skyy Vodka stepped in to help fill that gap, sponsoring a short film competition as well as providing cash.

Returning sponsor Starbucks is upping its financial contribution as well as offering locations for seminars and sessions with directors.

Tsi anticipates fest ticket sales will cover about 20% of the budget. That leaves him to pound the pavement for the remaining 10%, or about $128,000. If that doesn’t materialize, then hospitality and marketing will suffer, he says, adding he also may consider cutting one competition section.

The fest is one of eight events that will take place during Entertainment Expo, a new event coordinated by the Trade Development Council.