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Josephine Siao to be honored at Hong Kong International Film Festival

Mr. Wilfred Wong, Chairman, Hong Kong International Film Festival Society, announced today that Josephine Siao will be the recipient of the inaugural Asian Film Award for Outstanding Contribution to Asian Cinema which will be presented at the awards ceremony on March 20th at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. Organized by the Hong Kong International Film Festival (HKIFF) and held in conjunction with Entertainment Expo, the Asian Film Awards (AFA) will recognize the best of Asian cinema over the past year. The festival runs March 20th through April 11th, 2007.

The festival will honor Josephine Siao for her extraordinary contribution to Asian cinema, earning multiple accolades throughout her celebrated career. Siao has starred in more films than any other Hong Kong actor and is known for her various roles which have never conformed to one genre. She also began her own production company to carefully select projects with a social consciousness like Lung Kong’s Hiroshima-28. Other critically acclaimed performances include her role in Stephen Chow’s Fists of Fury 1991 II, Corey Yuen’s Fong Sai Yuk and Ann Hui’s Summer Snow for which she won the Silver Bear for best actress in Berlin.

Josephine Siao has dedicated much of her life to causes for those in Hong Kong beyond her role as a distinguished actress to include founding Hong Kong’s End Child Sexual Abuse Foundation in 1988 and being an active supporter of the Hong Kong Film Archive, paying for the restoration of The Spooky Bunch among other titles. As Siao rarely makes public appearances, media and fans alike have expressed their excitement in having this special opportunity to see such a legend grace the awards show this year.

Jacob Wong, Curator, Hong Kong International Film Festival, stated, “We are honored that Josephine Siao will be a part of the 2007 festival given her illustrious career and mark she has made within Asian cinematic history. Her work has touched many and her presence at the Asian Film Awards is a highlight for the festival.”

David Bordwell, prominent film theorist also known for his astute knowledge of filmmaking, will also be honored at this year’s AFA’s. He will be presented with the Asian Film Award for Excellence in Scholarship in Asian Cinema. A passionate film lover, Bordwell has been recognized world wide as a prolific scholar connected with auteur studies, national cinemas (Hong Kong), history of film styles, and narrative theory. He is also considered the founder of cognitive film theory, an approach that relies on cognitive psychology as a basis for understanding film's effects. He’s an accomplished author whose books have become the standard in film study courses and has also rescued numerous prints of Chinese films from destruction, preserving them for future scholars.

In addition to the special tributes for Josephine Siao and David Bordwell, other prominent filmmakers confirmed to present at the Asian Award Gala include Luc Besson and Kimura Yoshino, director of Sakuran, presenting with stars Narimiya Hiroki and Ninagawa Mika. Nominees expected to attend include Asian superstars Rain, Song Kang-ho, Lee Byun Hun and directors Johnnie To, Andrew Lau and Garin Nugroho. Jafar Panahi, Jia Zhangke, Bong Jun-ho, Kiyoshi Kurosawa and Kore-eda Hirokazu are other high profile names expected to attend, rounding out the glamorous event.

This year’s festival sees a truly international selection of films both in and out of competition which include the critically acclaimed I’m A Cyborg, But That’s OK (South Korea), the international premieres of Freesia: Bullets Over Tears (Japan) and the documentary Nanking (USA), the Asian premieres of The Boss of It All (Denmark) and Tuya’s Marriage (China), and the world premieres of documentary In the Mood for Doyle (France) and Whispers and Moans (Hong Kong).

The AFA’s March 20th red-carpet gala and award ceremony will pay tribute to thirty-three nominated Asian films. The glittering event will be broadcast throughout Asia on Television Broadcasts Limited (TVB) and other regional channels including Astro TV and Phoenix TV with guests in attendance from around the world.

The Hong Kong International Film Festival Society is a non-profit, non-government organization which develops, promotes and encourages creativity in the art and culture of film through the presentation of the annual Hong Kong International Film Festival (HKIFF) and the Hong Kong – Asia Film Financing Forum (HAF). Apart from organizing the flagship event HKIFF each year, the Society is also committed to organize regular programs and other film culture activities throughout the year, in order to promote the art and creative business of cinema, with an international dimension and outlook.
HKIFF (March 20--April 11)
The Hong Kong International Film Festival’s first nine days (March 20-28) focus mainly on world film premieres and on planned activities for industry players, the press and guests from around the world. The program for the remainder of the festival (March 29-April 11), will center on selected films meant to appeal more to Hong Kong viewers.

Hong Kong Asia Screenings (HAS), March 20-23, will be a special feature of the 2007 festival. HAS was set up to help young Asian film directors and companies. Some of their entries will be promoted at FILMART/HAF. Thirty Asian films will be screened this year, including some completed HAF films. Among these, some 10 new Chinese productions will be featured in a section called Chinese Renaissance.

AFA (March 20)
The Asian Film Awards will honor the best of Asian cinema over the past year, including filmmakers with outstanding career achievements and emerging artists who demonstrate extraordinary talent in the field of cinema. Awards will recognize films and filmmakers from all over Asia – from Iran to China to India – in ten categories including Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Screenwriter, Best Cinematographer, Best Production Designer, Best Composer, Best Editor and Best Visual Effects. A jury of 17 film professionals, whose experiences and expertise in cinema are internationally recognized (filmmakers, key personnel from international film festivals, and industry experts from all over the world) have screened over 700 eligible films produced in the region in 2006. Up to six nominees in each category have been selected. AFA winners will be announced at the Awards Gala on March 20th 2007.
HAF (March 20-22, 2007)
HAF is a film project market that helps promising Asian filmmakers find partners to finance their films. A three-day event, HAF provides a unique opportunity for filmmakers to discuss their projects in private with film financiers, producers, bankers, distributors, buyers and other film-related businesses.
Most HAF projects have been successfully produced. The films resulting from the projects have been shown at festivals around the world, including Cannes, Venice and Toronto.

FILMART (March 20-23, 2007)
FILMART is Asia's largest cross-media entertainment market for film, TV, animation, digital entertainment, film & broadcasting equipment, post-production services and filming locations. FILMART is an ideal platform for industry people to promote themselves, network with others and strike deals.
FILMART 2007 will continue to showcase cross-media products under various themes, including "Animation and Digital Entertainment World", "Equipment & Post-production Services World", the new "TV World" and "Locations World".
A variety of seminars, business matching meetings and networking functions has been arranged for industry players.

ENTERTAINMENT EXPO (March 20-April 15, 2007)
All four events – AFA, HKIFF, HAF and FILMART– will be held under the banner of the third Entertainment Expo, which will showcase film, digital entertainment, music and TV under one roof. Other Expo events include: Hong Kong Film Awards (HKFA), Digital Entertainment Leadership Forum (DELF), Hong Kong Music Fair (HKMF), IFPI Hong Kong Top Sales Music Award, and the Hong Kong Independent Short Film & Video Awards (IFVA).


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