The inaugural ASEAN FILM FESTIVAL in Hong Kong showcased the vibrancy and exuberance of Asia’s youth culture through a diverse range of genres, including drama, romantic comedy, horror and animation. The festival brought the region’s dynamic film talent to the forefront, highlighting their creativity and passion for storytelling.
The festival has been a source of inspiration for many young people, igniting their curiosity about the ASEAN nations and serving as a unique platform for showcasing high-quality indie films from the region. With a vivid picture painted of the different cultures of ASEAN member countries through the medium of film, hopefully youngsters will be inspired to travel to these countries and experience the rich cultural diversity of the region firsthand.
Many participants found the festival a rewarding experience. Ernest, a fine arts graduate, thought the films screened in the festival not only helped the audience understand the regional culture but also made the viewer more interested in learning about the history and current situation of the Southeast Asian countries.
Secondary Four student Kitty, who attended the screening of an Indonesian film, thought the festival broadened her horizons.
“I didn’t know much about Indonesian culture or customs, and it was my first time watching an Indonesian movie. This screening event certainly deepened my understanding of the country’s customs,” she said.
The festival boasted an impressive line-up of directors, many of whom have been internationally acclaimed for their originality and unique storytelling approaches. Along with Hong Kong’s well-established film industry, filmmakers from the ASEAN region have made significant contributions to the global cinematic landscape. Their work has been celebrated and acclaimed, cementing their place in the world of cinema.
Organised by the HK-ASEAN Foundation (HKAF), the two-week ASEAN FILM FESTIVAL was a celebration of Southeast Asia’s creative talent, culture and diversity, with 21 screenings of 14 films in cinemas across Hong Kong. It was also an immersive learning platform for over 600 Hong Kong and ASEAN students who were invited to the screenings. Some even had the opportunity to participate in sharing sessions with the filmmakers, who were flown in to meet the audience.
The finale of the festival was at the Hong Kong Palace Museum where a closing screening was held. The consul generals and representatives from all ASEAN nations’ consulate offices in Hong Kong were in attendance to show their support for the festival. It was a momentous occasion that brought together people from different nations to celebrate their shared cultural perspective.
Kevin Yeung Yun-hung, GBS, JP, secretary for culture, sports and tourism of HKSAR said at the closing screening, “The festival accelerates cultural exchange, which echoes our strategic direction in promoting the development of Hong Kong as an East-meets-West centre for international cultural exchange as outlined in the National 14th Five-Year Plan. We encouraged the Hong Kong film industry to actively participate in various international film festivals to enhance new connections with overseas film communities to sustain Hong Kong’s status as a well-established and prominent hub for the Asian film industry with our rich cultural history and diverse range of unique film offerings.”
Daryl Ng, SBS, JP, chairman of HK-ASEAN Foundation shared Yeung’s sentiment.
“The ASEAN and Hong Kong enjoy long-standing and deep-rooted partnerships that span decades. Such partnerships are highlighted by the chief executive’s highly successful visit to the ASEAN countries last month. Through the ASEAN FILM FESTIVAL, we seek to present to Hong Kong audiences the rich cinematic tapestry of the ASEAN, and to promote a deeper understanding of one another’s cultures. It is also a celebration of Hong Kong’s strength in the creative industries as well as our role as a bridge connecting the ASEAN and mainland China,” Mr Ng said.