The Hong Kong Asia Film Finance Forum (HAF) is set to make a return in 2003 after a two year hiatus.

The new event will combine the project market of the first HAF with the industry screenings of last year's hastily organised Hong Kong Asia Screenings (HAS).

Held at the beginning of April 2003, the timing of HAF should allow it to complement the Hong Kong film awards on 6 April and the Hong Kong film festival which gets underway on 8 April.

HAF is this time backed by the territory's Motion Picture Industry Association (MPIA) and headed by the highly respected former Golden Harvest executive Albert Lee.

"We hope to have 15-20 projects at the HAF, not just from Hong Kong but all over Asia. The market will very much function on the model of Cinemart and PPP," said Lee. He estimates that at least a dozen films will get market screenings in a fashion that does not impair selection for Cannes or other major festivals.

Lee says the event is likely to be held close to the festival in the Tsim Sha Tsui district, but is currently finalising the venue.

There has been fierce internal debate within Hong Kong over the merit and organisational structure of the early market and of relations with the longer established FilMart in June, which is separately funded by the Trade Development Association. "I don't expect the new HAF to have any impact on FilMart. They should all complement each other," said Lee.