The Asian Film Awards Academy (AFAA) celebrated its inauguration last night (March 23) with Moet-AFA Special Award Rising Star of Asia awardees Chiaki Kuriyama and Kim Nam-gil.

The AFAA is a joint initiative of the Hong Kong, Busan and Tokyo film festivals.

“This is a unique and historic collaboration between three major film festivals in Asia. AFA is now becoming a truly pan-Asian event, which is the whole point of the exercise,” said Roger Garcia, executive director of the Hong Kong International Film Festival Society (HKIFFS).

Garcia added they were looking into moving the awards ceremony to different cities in coming editions.

“AFAA is also a professional academy drawn from the film industry with a baseline of anyone who has been nominated to the AFAs being eligible for membership,” he explained.

“We’re planning to undertake events such as masterclasses and possible mentorships for young filmmakers, and thinking about having a relationship with AMPAS and BAFTA. Different countries in Asia such as Japan or Korea have their own academies, but the strength of the thing comes when it’s a combination.”

AFAA executive committee’s Wilfred Wong Ying-wai, chairman of the HKIFFS; director of the Busan festival Lee Yong-kwan and director general of the Tokyo fest and TIFFCOM Yasushi Shiina were on hand to celebrate the new collaboration.