Primarily an audience festival, the Hong Kong International Film Festival (Hkiff) nonetheless achieves greater international recognition by taking place at the same time as Filmart and the Hong Kong Asia Film Financing Forum (HAF). In turn, it helps to increase the film-maker quotient at both industry-heavy events.

Nearly 300 films from 46 countries will screen at this year's edition (March 17-April 6), which opens with Japanese director Yoji Yamada's Kabei - Our Mother and Soul Of A Demon, directed by Taiwan's Chang Tso-chi. The closing films are Martin Scorsese's Rolling Stones documentary Shine A Light and Coffee Or Tea, co-directed by Shu Kei and his protege Kwan Man-hin, which has its world premiere at the three-week event.

Other local films making their world premieres include Ann Hui's The Way We Are and Vincent Chui's Love Is Elsewhere.

The festival also has a section dedicated to Young Taiwanese Cinema, including the Taiwan portion of the Eric Tsang-produced trilogy Winds Of September. Tsang is also the Filmmaker In Focus and has contributed eight of his earlier films.

The programme includes a study of up-and-coming Japanese film-maker Ishii Yuya, who will also be the recipient of the first Edward Yang New Talent Award at this year's Asian Film Awards. Kabei director Yamada will receive the AFA lifetime achievement award.