In the wake of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami disaster in Japan, Hong Kong Filmart and the concurrent Hong Kong International Film Festival (HKIFF) are rallying to show support for the Japanese film industry as exhibitors attempt to carry on with business as usual.

The festival started on Sunday night and Filmart begins today.

Mina Mita, deputy director of Worldwide Production & Sales at Fuji TV’s Programming & Production Dept, voices the sentiment that the initial disaster and on-going after-effects are “unnerving” and a “constant worry.”

“But at the same time, you can’t just drop everything. We need to move forward and going to Filmart, albeit with heavy hearts, is a step in that direction,” she says.

Filmart reports that although two Japanese exhibitors have cancelled since the earthquake, 41 are attending as planned, including Gaga, Showgate, TBS, Nikkatsu, and NTV.  Buyer attendance data is not yet available, but Japanese director Iwai Shunji is known to have cancelled his trip to HKIFF.

The Asian Film Awards (AFA) ceremony will include a tribute to Japan where the China All-Artists Union presents a letter of condolence to a representtive of the Japanese film industry. AFA’s Official Champagne Sponsor Moét & Chandon will donate a corresponding amount of HK$10,000 to Japan disaster relief for each of the 18 winners. In total, Moet will donate HK$180,000 ($23,070).

Japanese sales and marketing company Pictures Dept. is holding fundraising screenings in Hong Kong and Toronto. The March 24 Hong Kong Art Center screening will be of Time Traveller: The Girl Who Leapt through Time, with a Chinese subtitle print provided by Hong Kong distributor Panorama Entertainment.

 Writer/director Sion Sono has said, “Let’s live first, let’s survive first, then we will work on together to regenerate Japan.”