The 44th edition of the Hong Kong International Film Festival has been confirmed as taking place in physical form in August. It had been postponed from its previous slot in March due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Organizers said on Wednesday that the event will run from 18-31 August 2020. The full lineup of selected films will be announced on July 28.
“We are cautiously optimistic that Hong Kong is gradually returning to normal from the health crisis,” said executive director Albert Lee. “I am pleased that we have not stopped our preparation since the postponement. The prospects of being able to bring back HKIFF44 to our audience are exciting. Nothing beats the big-screen experience of watching a diverse selection of films from around the world.”
Hong Kong has successfully controlled the virus outbreak. The territory has suffered 1,108 COVID-19 infection cases, with 1,050 of those now discharged from hospital. There have been just four COVID-19 deaths, the last nearly three months ago, in mid-March.
The Hong Kong government began easing restrictive measures from May, including allowing local cinemas to re-open. Movie theaters in Hong Kong are operating with social distancing measures in place, and a limited supply of new films.
Most border restrictions remain in place, and the government has given little indication to date when those will be relaxed. Locally, there is active discussion of so-called “travel bubbles” or “air bridges” that would open borders to other territories with similar levels of success in controlling the virus and compatible quarantine regimes.
Earlier this week, the city government said that local tourism could re-start and that the Ocean Park and Hong Kong Disneyland theme parks would be able to re-open shortly.
Lee said that festival organizers would continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation closely and comply with all recommended measures to ensure public safety, as these may evolve over time.
HKIFF is financially supported by Create Hong Kong, with insurance firm FWD as its main commercial sponsor.