Last year’s edition of the festival was pushed back from April to August and finally cancelled due to an unfortunately timed uptick in Covid-19 cases. However, most of the programme was screened in-theatre through the five-week CineFest event that ran from late September to early November.
“The Covid-19 pandemic had severely disrupted the international film festival circuit last year. Many festivals, including our very own HKIFF44, were either cancelled or forced to move online,” Lee said. “With the pandemic showing few signs of abating, we recognise the proactive need to confront the challenges by adding an online component to our festival for the first time.”
In addition to screenings, this year’s HKIFF will stream some of the seminars, post-screening talks and other events. “The Society will continue to monitor the Covid-19 situation closely and comply with every health measure mandated by the government. Public safety remains our paramount concern,” Lee said.
While Hong Kong has had four waves of increased Covid-19 infections, it has not been as badly affected by the pandemic as the US and Europe. However, cinemas have been forced to close at three points over the past year, and are currently shut until January 20. Hong Kong has reported 9,386 cases of infection and 161 deaths since the start of the pandemic.