Press Release HKSAR Government Information Centre



LCQ13: HK International Film Festival


Following is a question by the Hon Andrew Cheng and a written reply by the Secretary for Home Affairs, Mr W K Lam, in the Legislative Council today (March 14):


It was reported that the Leisure and Cultural Services Department ("LCSD") decided not to screen the film "From the Queen to the Chief Executive" as an opening film for this year's Hong Kong International Film Festival because the film touched on the Chief Executive. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the details of the criteria adopted for selecting the opening films for the Film Festival of this year;

(b) whether film advisers of the LCSD have advised on the selection of the opening films of this year's Film Festival; if so, of the number of advisers on the matter, and the number of them who recommended that the above film be screened as an opening film; and

(c) whether the above film was not chosen as an opening film because it would not be world-premiered at the Festival; if so, whether any of the opening films in the past Film Festivals was not world-premiered; if so, of the names of these films?


Madam President:

My replies to Hon Andrew Cheng's questions are provided below:

(1) The Hong Kong International Film Festival (HKIFF) is a major cinematic event in Hong Kong, which is also well known to the world. All along, the artistic merit of a film has been the most important factor to be considered when selecting the opening films for the Festival. In the past few years, two opening films were chosen each year, and at least one of them was a Chinese film produced in Hong Kong. If more than two films were found suitable and they were of comparable artistic merit, the one that could be world-premiered would be chosen as the opening film.

Regarding film selection procedures, professional programmers would first collect information about recently produced films through various channels such as film companies, newspapers and magazines, film advisers and film networks. The programmers would then contact the film companies concerned to arrange previews and would make an assessment on the artistic merit of the films with reference to the views of the film advisers (a total of 13 advisers drawn from the film sector, film critics and academic sector). Finally, based on the aforesaid criteria and information, the programmers would recommend the most outstanding films for the endorsement of the organizing body. All along, the recommendations by the professional programmers have been endorsed. Over the years, the aforesaid criteria and procedures have been effective and are widely accepted by the film sector as well as the arts community.

(2) This year, the Festival is jointly organised by the Hong Kong Arts Development Council and the LCSD. The Department has consulted the 13 film advisers on the assessment and choice of topics as well as the selection of the opening films and other films for the Festival.

As regards the opening films for this year's Festival, there were altogether seven films shortlisted for consideration, including the film "From the Queen to the Chief Executive" proposed by a film adviser. The programmers of the Festival, with reference to the established criteria and procedures, recommended two films as the opening films, which were "Peony Pavilion", a local production and "Mortal Transfer", a French production. As for the film "Peony Pavilion", it will be world premiered at the Festival. These recommendations were endorsed by the joint committee of the LCSD and the Hong Kong Arts Development Council. The 13 film advisers did not raise any objection to the decision.

As for the film "From the Queen to the Chief Executive", the LCSD also requested to have the film screened in other time slots of the Festival but was turned down by the film company concerned.

(3) The film "From the Queen to the Chief Executive" has not been selected as the opening film because of the consideration on comparative artistic merits.

Details of the opening films of the Hong Kong International Film Festival for the past five years are as follows:

HKIFF Film Title Director Remarks

----- ---------- -------- -------

20th Hu-du men SHU Kei World Premiered

(Hong Kong)

From Dust Till Robert Rudriguez Not World

Dawn (USA) Premiered

21st Kitchen YIM Ho Not World

(Hong Kong) Premiered

The River Tsai Ming-liang Not World

(Taiwan) Premiered

22nd Beast Cop Gordon CHAN World

(Hong Kong) Premiered

Dragon Inn King HU Not World

(Taiwan) Premiered

23rd Ordinary Heroes Ann HUI Not World

(Hong Kong) Premiered

Where A Good Johnnie TO World

Man Goes Premiered

(Hong Kong)

24th Spacked Out Lawrence Ah Mon World

(Hong Kong) Premiered

The Million Wim Wenders Not World

Dollar Hotel Premiered


End/Wednesday, March 14, 2001