Celebrating the Unique Voices of the World

Despite COVID-19 still keeping the world in its grip, the 2020 edition of HKAFF proved to be a success, with a full house – or at least, as full as regulations would allow. We'd like to thank all of our guests for coming out and enjoying a face-masked evening packed with independent cinema gems.

HKAFF was also very pleased to welcome several of the filmmakers: we were joined by Louise Pau (director of Survival HK), Nelson Ng Chak Hei (director of Magic Kingdom) and Elysa Wendi and Shing Lee (director and editor, respectively, of Forgive and Not to Forgive).

Thanks also to #legend for the exposure on their website. “When it comes to rich artistic experiences, Hong Kong does, in fact, have some hidden treasures. [...] The Hong Kong Arthouse Film Festival is kind of like Sundance or Cannes Film Festival, but scaled down to what is still a relatively underground event.” We're blushing!

At its heart, art is about celebrating the unique voice and message that we each possess. Sometimes loud, often quiet, occasionally bold and brash, and perhaps even shy, that singular voice should speak to others and by doing so, help them to better see themselves.

This vision of film as a medium that inspires and challenges - and supporting the filmmakers who create these works - is the mission of the Hong Kong Arthouse Film Festival. Founded in 2015 as an online film festival designed to support filmmakers regardless of their budgets, this prestigious festival celebrates the best of contemporary independent filmmaking. Its works bridge a wide variety of genres - short films, drama, experimental, comedy, horror, slow cinema, sci fi, fantasy, animation, documentary, and more.

Now entering its sixt year, the Hong Kong Arthouse Film Festival has evolved to have a physical presence in a premier setting - The Hong Kong Arts Centre (HKAC). As it approaches its fourth decade, the HKAC has become widely recognized as the prime arts and culture incubator in Hong Kong. HKAC strives to engage the community with art, focusing primarily on promoting contemporary art and culture in Hong Kong and abroad through exhibitions, art education and related programs. Add to this the fact that Hong Kong has rapidly become an epicenter in the art world, and it’s apparent that the prestige of the location and the potential of showing work in Asia – with all the distribution opportunities the continent offers – is appealing to a whole new class of filmmakers.

That vision goes back to the heart of the Hong Kong Arthouse Film Festival: exploring the world in which we live and the unique voices within it that are screaming to gain attention and have an impact on both hearts and lives.

All screenings will take place at the Hong Kong Arts Centre.

Hong Kong Arthouse Film Festival supports the Connecting Cultures Program by The Bigger Screen. Each year, The Bigger Screens select ten countries and grant filmmakers from those areas the ability to submit their work free of charge to partner festivals all over the world. This opens the door of film exposure to those who may not otherwise be able to enter. As we support inclusivity and shareable films, this program exemplifies our mission. From February 2021 until February 2022 included, The Bigger Screen Connecting Cultures Program supports filmmakers based in the following countries: Burundi, Eritrea, Yemen, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gambia, Ethiopia, Afghanistan, Nepal, Myanmar and Iran.

All selected filmmakers will receive The Tarkovski Grant, a film festival submission fee waiver package with an average value of about $250. This not only saves you a lot of money, but it also recognizes your work as something to watch for during the selection procedure, making a selection with another partner film festival more likely - but of course, never guaranteed. The Tarkovski Grant supports hundreds of filmmakers each year in their challenging journeys as independent filmmakers, by promoting existing films, no matter the genre, style or length. The Tarkovski Grant is supported by film festivals from all over the world. Find out more here: https://www.tarkovski.net/thetarkovskigrant

All selected films are also automatically in the running for Producer's Night.
Producer's Night is an opportunity for independent filmmakers to have their work screened to a private group of elite Hollywood producers. For many directors, it could mean their ticket to the mainstream. The exclusive screening presented by Cinematory, Tarkovski, and Hollywood producer Bhavani Rao, member of the PGA, will show the best of independent cinema from the past year's film festivals at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in West Hollywood. The only way to be considered for this by being selected at one of the partner film festivals. Hong Kong Arthouse Film Festival is a proud partner film festival of Producer's Night. More information: www.producersnight.com

Each edition, the festival will also give out awards in the following categories:
Best Narrative Short Film
Best Documentary Short Film
Best Animated Short Film
Best Experimental Short Film
Best Hong Kong Short Film

The Hong Kong Arthouse Film Festival accept all forms and genres. All non-English language films must be subtitled in English. Entry does not guarantee acceptance into the festival. Submissions WILL NOT be returned. We also accept submissions that have premiered elsewhere and that may have distribution agreements already in place. Rough cuts and incomplete projects are not accepted. Multiple entries are allowed, however a separate entry form must be submitted for each. The festival has the capability to screen MP4.

Screenings are scheduled during the Festival at the discretion of the Hong Kong Arthouse Film Festival. Whilst every effort will be made to adhere to the published schedule, Hong Kong Arthouse Film Festival reserves the right to make changes at any time for any reason. Hong Kong Arthouse Film Festival will not be liable for any costs claimed as a result of a change in scheduling. No film may be withdrawn from the festival program after its selection. If chosen as an official selection, Hong Kong Arthouse Film Festival is granted the permission to exhibit the film at the Hong Kong Arthouse Film Festival and all associated screenings. Location and timing of any screenings of the film shall be the sole decision of the organizers of the Hong Kong Arthouse Film Week. Filmmakers will be solely responsible for all costs resulting from the submission of the film to the Festival including but not limited to postage or insurance of the film, and expenses of your staff or any representatives of the film. Producer will indemnify the organisers of the Festival against all claims, demands, costs, damages, expenses (including legal fees), proceedings and losses resulting from the screening of the film at the Festival or from claims by any third parties.

Although every precaution will be taken to prevent loss or damage to materials while in the possession of the festival, The Hong Kong Arthouse Film Festival is not responsible should any materials be damaged while in transit to or from, or while in the possession of the festival.

The filmmaker holds the Hong Kong Arthouse Film Festival, its management, juries, subsidiaries, agents, sponsors, affiliates, and etc. harmless from any and all claims of liability resulting from entry. The filmmaker certifies to have full rights. Producer will indemnify the organisers of the Festival against all claims, demands, costs, damages, expenses (including legal fees), proceedings and losses resulting from the screening of the film at the Festival or from claims by any third parties.

The festival does not offer screening fees for its films. By submitting through FilmFreeway you are agreeing to NOT request a screening fee as a requirement for your film's participation in the festival, should your film get selected for the program.

Since the festival only requires a nominal entry fee, we will NOT accept requests for other entry fee waivers.

Overall Rating
  • Karl Richter

    Due to COVID19, I was not able to attend.
    HOWEVER… the festival was wonderfully communicative and responsive upon selection.

    Also, their Laurels are maybe the best out there!

    June 2020
  • Brodie May Rowlands

    Although unfortunately I coudln't make it to the screening, this was an extremely exciting festival to be chosen for- it was amazing to see the diverse line-up of shorts. They were excellent at communicating. Only wish I could have made it down for the screening!

    October 2019
  • Stephen Rutterford

    Love the quality and originality of the work here. An honor to be accepted.

    August 2019
  • Gwendoline Biliris

    A great festival with nice communication and interesting short films selection, with a wide range of artistic fields! Quite pleased to attend and watch our videos on big screens, even more honored to be awarded ‘best music video’. Congrats to HK Arthouse Film Festival team!

    June 2019
  • Daxiong Yu

    Great film festival, great experience, unforgettable memories!!!

    June 2019