The 40th edition of the Hong Kong Film Awards will be postponed to the first quarter of 2022 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, organizers announced on Monday.
The Hong Kong Film Awards Association explained that many scheduled theatrical releases have been delayed or canceled as cinemas are unable to operate normally. As a result, there will be no ceremony in 2021 and the organizers will consider Hong Kong-made films released in both 2020 and 2021 as eligible for the 2022 edition.
This year’s awards ceremony in May was canceled, and then moved to an online streaming presentation.
Cinemas in Hong Kong were twice ordered to shut down as the territory was hit by second and third waves of the epidemic. They closed for six weeks from the end of March to May 8, and again on July 15 until the end of August. They are now open again, but must maintain strict social distancing measures, selling no more than 50% of the seats in each auditorium.
The restrictions meant that box office during the first six months suffered a 72% plunge. Figures from Hong Kong Box Office Ltd. showed January to June receipts totaled just $37.8 million (HK$293 million), compared to $135 million (HK$1 billion) during the same period last year.
Hong Kong is now suffering only single digit or low double digit daily case increases. The Centre for Health Protection of the Department of Health announced on Monday that it was investigating 10 additional confirmed cases of coronavirus, taking the number of cases to 5 076. There have been 105 deaths.