Little Big Women directed by Joseph HSU
HKIFF44 was due to kick off with the world premiere of Little Big Women directed by Joseph HSU

Hong Kong International Film Festival (HKIFF44) today revealed the Firebird Awards competitions and FIPRESCI prize jury members, following the decision to continue with the competitions despite the earlier cancellation of the 44th edition of the Festival due to an escalation in COVID-19 cases.

Through online judging, five panels of independent juries will select a total of 13 winners from the 42 competition titles.

Leading the jury for the Young Cinema Competition for Chinese Language Films is revered Hong Kong director Stanley Kwan, who has been an iconic figure in local and international cinema for decades. Joining him are fellow director-cum-cinematographer O Sing-pui; and acclaimed independent art and cultural worker May Fung. Together they will identify four winners among the emerging talents in recent Chinese language cinema.

Making up the jury panel for Young Cinema Competition for World Cinema are three distinguished industry figures: Leong Po-chih, renowned new wave director for his pioneering works both locally and overseas; Professor Gina Marchetti of the University of Hong Kong, a specialist in film and cultural studies; and prominent film programmer, researcher and critic, Sam HO.

Three equally illustrious veterans form the Documentary Competition jury panel: Ruby Yang, the Academy Award winner for Best Documentary Short Subject with The Blood of Yingzhou District; Ruby Chen, Co-Founder and CEO of CNEX Foundation Limited, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting documentaries in Chinese language regions; and Bryan Chang, a notable film critic, director and screenwriter who has produced several independent films and books on cinema.

Hong Kong filmmaker Derek Kwok-cheung Tsang, whose sophomore film, Better Days, garnered eight Hong Kong Film Awards, including Best Director, joins the jury panel for the Short Film Competition. He will select two winners from 18 short films with his fellow jurors: Taiwanese director, producer, writer and actor Cheng Yu-Chieh, whose Dear Tenant was chosen initially for the cancelled HKIFF44’s Gala Premiere section; and Ana Isabel Strindberg, co-director of Portugal Film, and a member of IndieLisboa’s selection committee.

For the FIPRESCI prize, three renowned international film critics – Robert Horton from the USA, Gideon Kouts from France, and Ann Lind Andersen from Denmark – will form the jury to select the winner.

“While we cannot publicly screen any of the competition films at the moment, we are pleased that we can still go ahead with their online judging,” HKIFFS Executive Director Albert Lee said. “It is important that we can continue to highlight talented young filmmakers who deserve recognition and accolades for their outstanding works. Of course, we are most grateful to all jury members for their devotion and support.”

HKIFF44 was due to kick off with the world premiere of two exceptional works from Hong Kong and Taiwan: MAN Lim-chung’s Keep Rolling, an intimate documentary on the revered Hong Kong filmmaker Ann HUI, the recipient of a Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at this year’s Venice Film Festival, and Joseph HSU’s Little Big Women, a heartrending family drama featuring an ensemble cast of prominent Taiwanese actresses. A third world premiere, The Cornered Mouse Dreams of Cheese, an empathetic adaptation of a popular anime series by the acclaimed Japanese director YUKISADA Isao, starring OKURA Tadayoshi and NARITA Ryo, was to close the festival.

Several exciting new films were to showcase in HKIFF44’s Gala Premiere section. They include Days, Taiwanese master TSAI Ming-Liang’s Teddy Jury Award winner at Berlinale. Celebrated director YONFAN was to present a new director’s cut of No.7 Cherry Lane, his first foray into animation and the winner of Best Screenplay at last year’s Venice Film Festival. Equally intriguing was Shadows, a psychological crime thriller set in Hong Kong by Singaporean filmmaker Glenn CHAN in his feature debut. Hong Kong director Kit HUNG was to present his sophomore feature, Stoma, based on an autobiographical screenplay of the late cultural icon Julian LEE. Also under the spotlight was Dear Tenant by Taiwanese director CHENG Yu-Chieh, another thrilling drama with which MO Tzu-Yi was named Best Actor at the Taipei Film Festival.

In the Firebird Awards competition, 42 films would vie for 12 awards in four categories – namely Young Cinema (World), Young Cinema (Chinese Language), Documentary and Short Film – and a panel of an Independent jury in each category will decide. Separately, a jury comprised of international film critics will award the FIPRESCI Prize to an outstanding film.

HKIFF44 Firebird Awards Competitions Jury Members

Young Cinema Competition (Chinese Language)

Stanley KWAN
O Sing-pui
May FUNG

Young Cinema Competition (World)

LEONG Po-chih
Gina MARCHETTI
Sam HO

Documentary Competition

Ruby YANG
Ruby CHEN
Bryan CHANG

Short Film Competition

Derek Kwok-cheung TSANG
CHENG Yu-Chieh
Ana Isabel STRINDBERG

FIPRESCI Prize

Robert HORTON
Gideon KOUTS
Ann Lind ANDERSEN

HKIFF44 Firebird Awards competition line-ups

Young Cinema Competition (Chinese Language)

  • Stoma by Kit HUNG
  • Be Alive Just Like You by LAI Meng-Jie
  • The Cloud in Her Room by ZHENG Lu Xinyuan
  • Wisdom Tooth by LIANG Ming
  • Damp Season by GAO Ming
  • Wild Swords by LI Yunbo
  • Summer Is the Coldest Season by ZHOU Sun
  • All About ING by HUANG Zi

Young Cinema Competition (World)

  • Piedra Sola by Alejandro Telémaco TARRAF
  • The Shepherdess and the Seven Songs by Pushpendra SINGH
  • The Alien by Nader SAEIVAR
  • Kala Azar by Janis RAFA
  • Exile by Visar MORINA
  • Los Conductos by Camilo RESTREPO
  • Dust and Ashes by PARK Hee-kwon
  • This Is Not a Burial, It’s a Resurrection by Lemohang Jeremiah MOSESE

Documentary Competition

  • Zero by SODA Kazuhiro
  • Little Girl by Sebastien LIFSHITZ
  • Acasa, My Home by Radu CIORNICIUC
  • Born to Be by Tania CYPRIANO
  • i -Documentary of the Journalist- by MORI Tatsuya
  • Once You Know by Emmanuel CAPPELLIN
  • The Painter and the Thief by Benjamin REE
  • This Is Not a Movie by Yung CHANG

Short Film Competition

  • Bare Trees in the Mist by Rajan KATHET
  • 99’s by LEE Hong-rae
  • Genius Loci by Adrien MERIGEAU
  • All Cats Are Grey in the Dark by Lasse LINDER
  • Becoming Alluvium by Thao Nguyen PHAN
  • Summer Ball by Cíntia Domit BITTAR
  • Austral Fever by Thomas WOODROFFE
  • Life Between the Exit Signs by Nicolas PINADEUS
  • Something to Remember by Niki Lindroth von BAHR
  • Prelude of the Moving Zoo by Sorayos PRAPAPAN
  • Bab Sebta by Randa MAROUFI
  • Heading South by YUAN Yuan
  • The Elephant in the Car by Ikram NURMEHMET
  • Dear Joel by Thanasis TROUBOUKIS
  • Keep Forgetting by SHIBATA Takahiro
  • The Furniture Maker by David AVILÉS
  • Aggregate States of Matters by Rosa BARBA
  • Mutts by Halima OUARDIRI
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