Hong Kong Film Festival is Postponed Due to Virus Fears

The Hong Kong International Film Festival will be postponed from its scheduled date in March and early April. The decision was a response to the growing fear of the novel coronavirus which has spread from mainland China to reach more than 20 countries and territories so far.

The festival’s organizer, the Hong Kong International Film Festival Society made the announcement on Thursday. It said that the Hong Kong Asia Film Financing Forum, better known as HAF, and held within the perimeter of the FilMart trade show, would also be postponed.

Earlier in the day, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council said that FilMart would be postponed from March, until Aug. 27-29.

“The HKIFFS’ two flagship events, both scheduled to start in less than six weeks, will be postponed to the summer of 2020. However, the April/May edition of the year-round Cine Fan repertory program has been cancelled (outright),” said HKIFFS executive director Albert Lee in a statement.

“Plans are on track to hold HAF18 during the 24th edition of FilMart, which the Hong Kong Trade Development Council has just postponed to 27-29 August,” said HAF director Jacob Wong. “We are still going ahead with HAF Goes to Cannes which takes place during Cannes Film Festival in May. We will announce the selected projects for this initiative in late March.”

Popular on Variety

“The postponement of HKIFF44 and HAF18 was not an easy decision to make. We see the need to make a socially-responsible decision and not to put the public’s safety and well-being at risk,” said Lee.

Earlier, on Thursday, mainland Chinese authorities confirmed a spike in coronavirus cases. There are now more than 48,000 cases of virus infection, and 1,350 deaths to date. The disease has killed two others, one in The Philippines, one in Hong Kong. The number of confirmed infections in Hong Kong is 51, with one patient declared as recovered.

But with the memory of the 2003 SARS outbreak still in the minds of many, Hong Kong public are vigilant and wary about gathering in large numbers. Some cinemas in the territory have begin to only sell alternate rows of seats in their theaters.

With many workplaces in the territory advising staff to stay at home, the city experiencing panic buying of face masks, toilet paper and basic foodstuffs, and schools closed until March 16, the March dates for the festival, HAF and FilMart seemed increasingly untenable. The festival was scheduled to have run March 24 to April 6.

Additionally, Hong Kong now also requires a two week mandatory quarantine for all incoming visitors from mainland China and is refusing entry to Chinese visitors whose visas allow less than 14 days stay.

On Monday, the month-long Hong Kong Arts Festival, due to have been held Feb. 13-March 14 announced its cancellation. Three days earlier, on Friday, Art Basel Hong Kong, the massive fine art festival that was due to have been held March 19-21 at venues including the Convention Centre, was cancelled. No alternative dates were announced.


More Film

  • 'Charlatan' Review: Agnieszka Holland Shows Faith

    'Charlatan': Film Review

    At several points in “Charlatan,” the camera looks glossily on as our protagonist holds small bottles of amber liquid to the light, academically scrutinizing their contents as they beam a light golden glow onto his features: an effect both ennobling and almost romantic. The man is Jan Mikolášek, a famous Czech herbalist and healer with [...]

  • Toho Cinemas at Tokyo Midtown Hibiya

    Japanese Cinemas To Refund Tickets in Virus Response

    In response to the coronavirus crisis, the Japanese film industry has begun to delay releases, close theaters and refund ticket purchases. The releases of the new “Doraemon” and “Jimaro” feature animations targeted at kids out of school for the spring break, have been delayed. The former was scheduled to open March 6, the latter on [...]

  • Blood on Her Name

    Film Review: ‘Blood on Her Name’

    In the opening moments of “Blood on Her Name,” an arrestingly twisty and suspenseful Southern noir thriller in the tradition of “One False Move,” we’re introduced to Leigh, the working-class protagonist played by Bethany Anne Lind, with a jarring close-up that is at once explicit and ambiguous. Her face is battered, her breathing is labored, [...]

  • Liev Schreiber Broadway

    Film News Roundup: Liev Schreiber Joins Will Smith's Tennis Drama 'King Richard'

    In today’s film news roundup, Liev Schreiber and retired pro footballer Vernon Davis score roles, Jason Blum will speak at his alma mater, Irish drama “Rialto” finds a U.S. distributor and “1917” hits a box office milestone. CASTINGS Liev Schreiber will portray tennis coach Paul Cohen in Warner Bros.’ “King Richard” opposite Will Smith. Reinaldo [...]

  • AMC theater

    AMC Entertainment Reports Mixed Fourth-Quarter Results

    AMC Entertainment has reported mixed fourth-quarter results, which saw revenues rise 2.4% to $1.45 billion, despite a 4.4% drop in U.S. attendance to 62.3 million. The exhibitor, owned by Dalian Wanda Group, announced a fourth-quarter loss of $13.5 million, compared to a year-earlier profit of $170.6 million, due to $84.3 million of expense related to [...]

  • 'Straight Up' Review: James Sweeney's Gay

    'Straight Up': Film Review

    There’s a tradition in movies, as vital as a hypnotic action scene or a swooning love scene, of dialogue so witty and nimble and rapid-fire that it comes at you like something out of a stylized dream. I first encountered that brand of high-velocity verbal jousting in “A Hard Day’s Night,” and later on in [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content