This year's multi-faceted Hong Kong film season stretches to nearly a month of world-class events under the Entertainment Expo banner.

Each distinct event is looking to stretch its brand to new limits.

Three events - Filmart, co-production market HAF and the Hong Kong International Film Festival (HKIFF) - all kick off on March 20 while the Expo runs until the Hong Kong Film Awards gala on April 15.

Screen will be offering the best coverage of the event with our unrivalled reporting team at the key events from next week.

Here we preview the events. Click on a heading below to go to the official site.

Hong Kong Filmart (March 20-23)

This year's Hong Kong International Film & TV Market (Filmart) will host two new thematic pavilions - TV World and Locations World - as part of its drive to become the leading cross-media trading platform in the region.

Almost 40 companies, from the US, Europe, Asia Pacific and other regions, are expected to attend Locations World. Co-organised by the Hong Kong government's Television and Entertainment Licensing Authority, the showcase will also promote Hong Kong as an international shooting location.

TV World will feature 54 companies from 12 countries including Spain 's Filmax International, Korea 's MBC and large delegations from China and Hong Kong.

Filmart organisers, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (TDC), also announced that this year's closing ceremony will feature the charity premiere screening of animated feature Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, produced by Hong Kong's Imagi International Holdings.

The event will also feature the world premiere of Japanese feature Shindo and the Hong Kong premiere of Luc Besson's Arthur And The Minimoys, along with around 150 industry screenings.

TDC assistant executive director Raymond Yip said the market would be 'bigger than ever' this year with new companies and countries participating. The organisers are expecting a 10% increase in exhibitors to around 450 in addition to 4,000 buyers and other visitors.

As the market is growing, the Hong Kong Music Fair, which was part of Filmart last year, will move onto another floor of the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre and be held as a separate event under Entertainment Expo.

Hong Kong International Film Festival (March 20 - April 11)

This year's Hong Kong International Film Festival will feature 16 world premieres as part of an expanded line-up that reflects its new industry and international ambitions.

Among the world premieres are Indonesian director Riri Riza's Three Days To Forever; Fruit Chan's 30-minute short Xian Story; Things We Do When We Fall In Love from Malaysia's James Lee, and two films from this year's 'Director In Focus' Herman Yau - A Mob Story and Whispers And Moans.

The event will also feature 9 international premieres - including Bill Guttentag and Dan Sturman's documentary Nanking, fresh from Sundance success - and 22 Asian premieres.

Yau Nai-hoi's Eye In The Sky will be the opening film along with previously announced opener I'm A Cyborg, But That's OK. Both films will screen on the night before the festival opens on March 19.

However, due to its length, this year's HKIFF won't feature a closing film. The festival has changed dates to start at the same time as Hong Kong Filmart and to encompass Easter weekend - so will run for a whopping 23 days from March 20 to April 11. In lieu of a closing film, Suzie Templeton's animated version of Prokofiev's Peter & The Wolf will screen on the last day with accompaniment from the Hong Kong Sinfonietta.

As previously reported, the HKIFF is striving to become a more international event, and also more of an industry platform, with new developments such as the launch of the inaugural Asian Film Awards and by taking over management of the Hong Kong Asia Film Financing Forum (HAF).

Other highlights in the programme include the Asian Digital Competition, including the world premiere of Zhang Yaodong's Mid-Afternoon Barks; the Humanitarian Awards for Documentaries; a Pedro Costa retrospective; a section on Young Romanian Cinema, and a new programme entitled 'Animation For All'.

As usual, the festival will also feature a Chinese Renaissance section, including Berlin Golden Bear winner Tuya's Marriage, and the Hong Kong Panorama featuring the best of local cinema over the past year.

Hong Kong Asia Film Financing Forum (March 20-22)

Leading Asian directors including South Korea's Kim Jee-woon, China's Lou Ye and Japan's Kore-eda Hirokazu are among the 25 filmmakers who have had projects selected for this year's edition of the Hong Kong Asia Film Financing Forum (HAF).

Kim, whose credits include A Bittersweet Life and A Tale Of Two Sisters, will bring his highly-anticipated 'Oriental Western' The Good, The Bad And The Weird to the Hong Kong projects market which runs March 20-22.

Lou, who most recently directed controversial Cannes competition entry Summer Palace, is bringing a project entitled The Last Hour, while Kore-eda, whose Nobody Knows won best actor at Cannes in 2004, has had Night-fragrant Flower selected.

The selection also includes projects from hot up-and-coming filmmakers such as Beijing-based female director Xu Jinglei - who has had a biopic of China's Tang Dynasty Empress Wu selected - Hong Kong female director Yan Yan Mak, Malaysia's Ho Yuhang, Singapore's Kelvin Tong and Hong Kong's Pang Ho Cheung.

'This year's selection sees the further blossoming of HAF as new territories are participating for the first time,' said newly appointed HAF director Jacob Wong. 'The 2007 projects are an embodiment of Asia's finest commercial and artistic filmmaking.'

HAF is organised for the first time this year by the Hong Kong International Film Festival Society and co-organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council and the Motion Picture Industry Association. It opens on the same day as Hong Kong Filmart and the Hong Kong International Film Festival and organisers are expecting around 600 film financiers, bankers, producers, buyers, film funding bodies and distributors to attend.

Recently completed films that have participated in previous editions of HAF include Air directed by China's Zhang Yang, The Drummer from Hong Kong's Kenneth Bi and Freesia by Japan's Kumakiri Kazuyoshi. Other former HAF projects such as Hur Jin-ho's Hwa Jang and Liu Fendou's PartOcean, Part Flame are currently in pre-production and scheduled to shoot later this year.

1. The 19th Step (India)
Director: Bharat Ganapathy
Producer: Bharat Ganapathy
Production Company: BharatBala Productions

2. At The End Of Daybreak (Malaysia)
Director: HO Yu Hang
Producer: Lorna TEE
Production Company: Paperheart Limited

3. Beautiful Kate (Australia)
Director: Rachel WARD
Producer: Leah Churchill-Brown
Production Company: DOLL

4. Bed (Singapore)
Director: Kelvin TONG
Producer: Leon TONG
Production Company: Boku Films Pte Ltd

5. Bema's Tear (Hong Kong / Chinese mainland)
Director: Francis NG
Producer: Chris LIU
Production Company: Beijing Golden Skyway Media Co

6. Blown By The Typhoon (Chinese mainland)
Director: YING Liang
Producer: PENG Shan
Production Company: 90 Minutes Film Studio

7. The Dream (Taiwan)
Director: CHANG Tso Chi
Producer: CHANG Tso Chi

8. Fading Away, My Love (South Korea)
Director: NOH Dong-Seok
Producer: Eugene LEE
Production Company: Zip Cinema

9. The Good, The Bad And The Weird (South Korea)
Director: KIM Jee-Woon
Producer: CHOI Jae-Won
Production Company: Barunson Co. Ltd. / Grimm Pictures

10. Homecoming (South Korea)
Director: E J-yong
Producer: Ellen KIM
Production Company: bom Film Production

11. The Journal Of Night And Morning (Hong Kong)
Director: Yan Yan MAK
Producer: Yan Yan MAK
Production Company: Dragonfly J Co. Ltd.

12. The Last Hour (Chinese mainland)
Director: LOU Ye
Producer: NAI An
Production Company: Dream Factory

13. The Messenger (Hong Kong / Australia)}
Director: Clara LAW
Producer: Sue MASLIN
Production Company: Lunar Films P/L

14. Night-fragrant Flower (Japan)
Director: KORE-EDA Hirokazu
Producer: Shigenobu Yotaka
Production Company: TV Man Union, Inc.

15. Now Showing (Hong Kong)
Director: PANG Ho Cheung
Producer: Subi LIANG
Production Company: Making Film Productions

16. One Night In Beijing (Chinese mainland)
Director: ZHANG Yuan
Producers: ZHANG Yuan, Jack JIA Zhijie
Production Company: Beijing Century Good-Tidings Productions

17. Palace Days (Chinese mainland)
Director: XU Jinglei
Producer: XU Jinglei
Production Company: Beijing Kaila Pictures Co

18. Point Of Reference (Vietnam / France)
Director: Nghiem-Minh Nguyenvo
Producer: Julien Favre
Production Company: DViant Films

19. Romance Of The Three Kingdoms: Red Rose And White Rose (Hong Kong)
Director: Mabel CHEUNG
Producer: Alex LAW
Production Company: Electric Shadows Productions, Mega Harmonic
Entertainment Limited, Sky Films

20. Shuang Xiong Hui (Chinese mainland / Japan)
Director: JIA Zhangke
Producers: CHOW Keung, ICHIYAMA Shozo
Production Company: Xstream Pictures, Office Kitano

21. The Sparrow (Thailand)
Director: Anocha Suwichakornpong
Producer: Soros Sukhum
Production Company: Electric Eel Films

22. Tea Of The Desert (Chinese mainland)
Director: LU Yue
Producers: ZHANG Wang, Er Yong
Production Company: Cheerland Entertainment Organization

23. A Thousand Winds (South Korea)
Director: KIM Young-Nam
Producer: KIM Young-Nam
Production Company: Yus Pictures

24. Tokyo Sonata (Japan)
Director: KUROSAWA Kiyoshi
Producer: KITO Yukie
Production Company: Entertainment FARM Inc.

25. Wee-Wee The Poop (Hong Kong)
Director: Brian TSE
Producer: Brian TSE
Production Company: Bliss Concepts Limited

Asian Film Awards (March 20)

The inaugural Asian Film Awards, organised by the HKIFF, will also be held on the evening of March 20.

Its first Asian Film Award for Outstanding Contribution to Asian Cinema will go to Josephine Siao. Siao has starred in more films than any other Hong Kong actor, including Stephen Chow's Fists of Fury 1991 II, Corey Yuen's Fong Sai Yuk and Ann Hui's Summer Snow.

Her production company has worked on projects including Lung Kong's Hiroshima-28. She also founded Hong Kong's End Child Sexual Abuse Foundation and supports the Hong Kong Film Archives.

Siao will be presented with the award at the March 20 ceremony, organised by the Hong Kong International Film Festival in conjunction with Entertainment Expo.

Jacob Wong, curator of the Hong Kong International Film Festival, said: 'We are honored that Josephine Siao will be a part of the 2007 festival given her illustrious career and mark she has made within Asian cinematic history. Her work has touched many and her presence at the Asian Film Awards is a highlight for the festival.'

The new awards, which recognise the best of Asian cinema during the past year, will also honour film theorist David Bordwell. He will be presented with the Asian Film Award for Excellence in Scholarship in Asian Cinema.

Other attendees expected for the Asian Film Awards gala include Luc Besson, Kimura Yoshino, Rain, Johnnie To, Andrew Lau, Jafar Panahi, Jia Zhangke, Bong Jun-ho, Kiyoshi Kurosawa and Kore-eda Hirokazu.

Hong Kong Film Awards (April 15)

Zhang Yimou's Curse of the Golden Flower is the clear frontrunner in the 26th edition of the Hong Kong Film Awards after earning 14 nominations, including best film, best director, best actor for Chow Yun Fat and best actress for Gong Li.

The lavish historical drama also garnered nods for two best supporting actors for Jay Chou and Liu Ye as well as cinematography, action choreography, art direction, costume and make-up design, sound design, visual effects, original score and song.

After This Our Exile, which marks Hong Kong veteran Patrick Tam's return to the director's chair after a 17-year hiatus, followed with 10 nominations including best film, best director, best screenplay, best actor (Aaron Kwok), best supporting actress (Kelly Lin) and best supporting actor and best new performer (Gouw Ian Iskandar).

Johnnie To's Exiled and Election 2, each received four and five nods respectively, were nominated for best film and best director. Election 2's Simon Yam and Nick Cheung were both up for best supporting actor.

Rounding up the best actor category are Fearless's Jet Li, My Name is Fame's Lau Ching Wan and Confession of Pain's Tony Leung Chiu Wai while Men Suddenly in Black 2's Teresa Mo, Happy Birthday's Rene Liu, Isabella's Isabella Leong and Re-cycle's Lee Sinje are competing with Gong Li for best actress.

Fearless, Confession of Pain, Banquet and Battle of Wits each garnered seven nominations, mostly in the technical categories.

The awards as part of Hong Kong Entertainment Expo will be presented on April 15 at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre.

Other events

  • Hong Kong Music Fair (March 21-23)
  • Digital Entertainment Leadership Forum (March 21)
  • IFPI Hong Kong Top Sales Music Award (March 22)
  • Hong Kong Independent Short Film and Video Awards (March 16-25)