Hong Kong

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Hong Kong

The Hong Kong International Film Festival (HKIFF), due to begin next month, has been postponed following rapid escalation of Covid-19 cases in the city.

The 46th edition of the event was scheduled to take place from March 31 to April 11 but this has been cancelled following a surge in cases in recent weeks. Organisers have also cancelled the first three months of the year-round Cine Fan repertory programme.

HKIFF is working to reschedule the festival and Cine Fan screenings to a date later this year, according to a spokesperson.

It marks the second time in three years that the pandemic has forced the cancellation of the festival, which would usually screen around 200 titles from around the world.

At the start of the outbreak in 2020, HKIFF was initially postponed and then cancelled, while last year’s edition took place as a hybrid event from April 1-12.

This year has already seen measures put in place across Hong Kong, with cinemas closed from January 7 following a rise in the new Omicron variant of the virus. But infections have continued to spread rapidly and 44,341 new cases were reported in the past 14 days.

As Hong Kong strictly follows China’s zero-Covid strategy, the local authorities yesterday announced the extension of social distancing measures to April 20, including cinema operations, and the implementation of a city-wide compulsory mass testing.

Filmart, the leading international market for Asian film and TV content, and the Hong Kong Asia Film Financing Forum (HAF) both previously opted to run online for the third consecutive year from March 14-17.