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HAF Awards: 14 selected from 33 projects across 15 regions, featuring young directors

HONG KONG: The 15th Hong Kong - Asia Film Financing Forum concluded today with the Awards Presentation Ceremony at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. Filmmakers, leading film financiers and industry professionals from across the world attended to celebrate this HAF milestone, and the presentation of 14 awards that recognise the promising and potential of remarkable film projects.

Over the past three days, HAF attracted leading film financers, producers, distributors and buyers across the world, connecting them with talented filmmakers through business meetings and seminar, pitching and networking events: the newly launched Work-in-Progress Lab facilitated projects already in production to secure post-production funds, sales agents or film festival support; Operation Greenlight helped foster talented local directors to make their debut feature film; sponsored by iQIYI the seminar "New Opportunities in the Explosive Growth of Online Entertainment" invited respected industry leaders to share fruitful insights of latest market trends, and enriching content for on-line platforms.

Over the years, HAF has been at the forefront in fostering quality movies and has nurtured a significant number of film projects generating critical acclaim and industry recognition. This year, the 14 award winners were selected from a total of 33 film projects across 15 countries and regions, featuring young emerging directors developing their first feature films. Many of the films are family-driven projects that touch on contemporary social issues, while some others give voice to minorities in society. One observable trend for example, is the increase in the number of women filmmakers.

The total value of the awards presented amounted to approximately HK$1,588,000 (US$204,600) in cash and value in-kind, thanks to the generous support of various sponsors and partners.

1. HAF Awards (Presented by Create HK, Hong Kong Film Development Fund and HAF)

Jerry LIU, Head of Create Hong Kong kicked off the ceremony by presenting two HAF Awards to Impossible Split (Hong Kong) and NARAtive Film 2017-2018 - Yuko (Japan) for Hong Kong Project and non-Hong Kong Project categories respectively. Each project will receive a cash prize of HK$150,000 (approx.US$19,300) in recognition of their originality and creativity.

2. iQIYI's Special Award (Presented by iQIYI)

HAF's Premium Sponsor for the third year in a row, iQIYI presented the iQIYI’s Special Award to The Patient (China), offering a cash award of HK$100,000 (approx.US$12,900) to encourage and support film talents from the Chinese speaking territories. 

3.mm2 Award (Presented by mm2 Asia Limited)

Forget You, Still Love You? (Hong Kong) was honoured the mm2 Award which aims to embrace Chinese-language film projects that exhibit good commercial and artistic quality. The winner will receive the cash award of HK$100,000 (approx.US$12,900).

4. HAF/FOX Project Award (Presented by Fox Networks Group and Fox International Productions)

Established to strengthen the development of Chinese-language cinema, the HAF/FOX Project Award went to Drifting Lives (China). The winning project will receive cash award of US$10,000 (approx.HK$78,000) and a development contract with FOX.

5. Wouter Barendrecht Award (Presented by Wouter Barendrecht Film Foundation, Create Hong Kong and Hong Kong Film Development Fund)

Dedicated to the memory of the late Wouter Barendrecht, the renowned film producer and one of the founders of HAF, the Wouter Barendrecht Award went to La Luna (Singapore). This cash award of HK$50,000 (approx.US$6,400) recognises a project by a director under 35 who has not made more than three feature films.

6. Paris Coproduction Village Award (Presented by Paris Coproduction Village)   

The Asadas (Hong Kong) obtained the Paris Coproduction Village Award, and will be invited to participate in the Paris Coproduction Village event at the Champs-Elysèes Film Festival 2017 with sponsoring hospitality valued at Euro 4,000 (approx.HK$33,000).

7. Network of Asian Fantastic Films Award (Presented by Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival)

The Network of Asian Fantastic Films Award was given to Femme Fatale (Japan) with sponsored hospitality of US$2,700 (approx.HK$20,900) to participate in the 2017 Network of Asian Fantastic Films project market, which will take place in July at the Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival in South Korea.

8. Wutianming Post-Production Award (Presented by China Film Foundation–Wutianming Fund For Young Talents)

The Wutianming Post-Production Award is set up to foster young talent working on Chinese film projects. The award went to Rainbow Mountain (China) with sponsored post-production services at the National Animation Industry Park in Tianjin valued at RMB300,000 (approx. HK$340,000).

9. White Light Post-Production Award (Presented by White Light Studio)   

White Light Studio will sponsor two in-kind awards for selected projects from HAF and WIP Lab respectively, in order to promote cinematic innovation and promising Asian directors. The awards went to La Luna (Singapore) from HAF and Village Rockstars (India) from WIP Lab. Each project will be offered post-production services valued at US$15,000 (approx. HK$116,500) at their studio in Bangkok.

10. G2D Post-Production Award (Presented by G2D) 

G2D will sponsor two in-kind awards for I AM A BANANA (Singapore, Canada) from HAF and The Third Wife (Vietnam) from WIP Lab.  Each winning project will be sponsored US$15,000 (approx. HK$116,500) towards a sound package for a film including sound services in foley, sound design, dialogue editing and atmosphere sound.

11. Wanda WIP Lab Award (Presented by Wanda Pictures)

The new Wanda WIP Lab Award celebrates a creative and original Chinese-language feature film project. The cash award of HK$100,000 (approx. US$12,900) was awarded to Omotenashi (Taiwan, Japan).

12. "Hong Kong Goes to Cannes"  Shortlisted Projects

To help open the door to the international film community, HAF is proud to collaborate with Marché du Film, Festival de Cannes to present the “Hong Kong Goes to Cannes” program, and revealed the first round selection of four projects from the WIP Lab for presentation and pitching at the Cannes Film Festival in May, including Omotenashi, Third Wife, Village Rockstars and Echoes.

Hong Kong International Film Festival Society executive director Roger Garcia said, “We continue to seek out and provide new opportunities for filmmakers. We look forward to the continued growth – both creatively and commercially – of Asian cinema. HAF’s role in developing the cinemas of our region continues to underline Hong Kong’s position as a premier film project hub in Asia.”

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