Three major Asian film festivals – Hong Kong, Busan and Tokyo – are joining forces to relaunch the Asian Film Awards in a bid to increase the pan-Asian influence of the annual event.

The Asian Film Awards (AFA) Academy has been established to organise the ceremony, which for the past seven years has been overseen by the Hong Kong International Film Festival Society (HKIFFS).

The executive committee of the AFA Academy will be chaired by Wilfred Wong, who is also the chairman of the HKIFFS. Committee members include Lee Yong-kwan, director of the Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) and Yasushi Shiina, director general of the Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF) and TIFFCOM market.

“The principal players in getting the AFA Academy off the ground are representatives of the three long established and major film festivals in Asia,” said Wong. “Their experience, involvement and collaboration will help to ensure a broader reach across Asia, and reflect the film industries, trends and audience tastes in the region.”

Wong added that additional committee members, including representatives of other Asian film festivals, could be included as the AFA Academy develops.

Lee Yong-kwan said: “The new attempt and changes to the organisation of the AFA – with the combined effort of Hong Kong, Busan and Tokyo International Film Festivals – will transcend barriers and borders and play an important part in pan-Asian development and the globalisation of Asian cinemas.”

Yasushi Shiina said: “I hope that the Asian Film Awards Academy will develop further and continue to contribute to cultural development in Asia, and enhance the status of Asian films worldwide.”

Hong Kong filmmaker Peter Ho-sun Chan has been appointed president of this year’s awards jury, which also includes Hong Kong star Donnie Yen.

The awards will be held on March 27 at City of Dreams’ Dancing Water Theatre in Macau. (See separate story for the full list of nominations).