Asian film awards moving from Hong Kong & Bus

Asian film awards moving from Hong Kong & Bus

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The Asian Film Awards will move from their current home in Hong Kong to Busan.

The bright red carpet event will also shift from March, when it usually coincides with the Hong Kong Film Festival and FilMart Rights Market, to October, to bring it into line with the Busan International Film Festival. The next edition will take place in October 2020.

The change was announced on Friday night in Busan. It was painful for the organizers to explain that the departure from Hong Kong was not related to the current civilian population in the city.

The Asian Film Awards were originally founded by the HKIFF Society, with the first edition taking place in 2007 at the Hong Kong Convention Center. The awards were later given to the trilateral joint venture with the Busan and Tokyo festivals, while retaining its legal basis in Hong Kong, where it has charitable status. The current director general of the AFAs is based in Hong Kong, but will start working with the Busan Festival for the 14th time next October.

Three partners had previously discussed relocating the event to other festival cities - AFAs have been held twice in Macau - but plans were made in 2013 to make the move to Busan a reality. The Busan Festival faced serious political and financial problems after the departure of the 2014 film "Diving Bell" (aka "The Truth Must Not Sink with Sewol") and festival director Lee Yong-kwan. Busan's normalcy has only recently been restored.

"The move was initiated by the Busan and Tokyo festivals, which have now said they are finally ready to take responsibility for receiving the awards," HKIFF chairman Wilfred Wong told Variety.

The move will create an 18-month gap between the March 2019 edition in Hong Kong and the October 2020 AFA edition in Busan. Wong said the organizers' goal is to have a small event in Hong Kong in March 2020 to preserve the brand, which could be a lifetime achievement award.

Shifting the dates could also clash with the Asia Pacific Screen Awards in November and in Brisbane, Australia. Both AFA and APSA have established academies that create the loyalty and continued involvement of leading talent and past award recipients.

The partners have also discussed the further rotation of the Asian Film Awards to Tokyo. However, no decision has been taken on when this could happen.

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