Celebrating the Unique Voices of the World
“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.” Thanks to #legend for the exposure and the kind words. 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 a film festival designed to support filmmakers regardless of their budgets, this underground 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.
A PREMIER SETTING
Now entering its ninth year, the Hong Kong Arthouse Film Festival has evolved to a rare underground event at a premier setting - The Hong Kong Arts Centre (HKAC). HKAFF and HKAC work independent. 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.
Hong Kong Arthouse Film Festival takes pride in its astute selection process. It is known for discovering hidden gems that later go on to successfully thrive at A-list festivals, with some films even catching the eye of the Academy Awards. In 2021 for example, the festival selected and awarded 'Ala Kachuu – Take and Run', directed by Maria Brendle, which was nominated in 2022 for an Oscar in the Best Live Action Short Film category.
All screenings will take place at the Hong Kong Arts Centre.
Hong Kong Arthouse Film Festival is
- An IMDB qualifying film festival
- Named as one of the Top 50 Emerging Film Festivals worldwide by iFilmFestival.com.
- A 'Climate Neutral Film Event', powered by TreePlan.org.
- An official festival partner of The Producer's Night Los Angeles (producersnight.com).
‘OFF ON’ SELECTION
As of 2023 our festival will enter an exciting new phase in its existence. Next to our physical screenings we’ll also be screening online with the special OFF ON SELECTION. The OFF ON Selection will go online one week prior to the opening of the physical part of the festival and will stay online until the last day of the festival. Viewers will be able to watch, but not download your film. If needed we can geo-block your film to our region.
We’re open to any genre (narrative, web series, made for tv, documentary, experimental …) and especially any duration (which is always an issue for the physical part of the festival). Selected filmmakers will receive all official selection perks (The Tarkovski Grant, The Producer’s Night nomination, …) and are in the running for any of the award titles. When you submit your film for consideration to both a physical section and the Off On Selection it is possible to be selected for both, but this is of course not guaranteed.
Filmmakers that submit their film only to any of the other sections (so any other than the Off On Selection) will not be selected for an online screening.
PROUD PARTNER OF THE BIGGER SCREEN
Hong Kong Arthouse Film Festival is supported by The Bigger Screen, an organization that aims to make film as an art form more accessible and more inclusive. A short overview of their projects:
- SUPPORTING FILM FESTIVALS: Film festivals are not only a place to share films, but they are a safe haven for film makers to connect, share, and learn. The Bigger Screens supports and engages with over 25 respected international film festivals from mainstays like the 61st Ann Arbor Film Festival and the Brussels Independent Film Festival to emerging events such as the Venice Film Week and The Producer’s Night Los Angeles. These events bring filmmakers and filmgoers together, providing that place to connect and engage in a comfortable setting, away from Hollywood glitz and glamour.
- CONNECTING CULTURES PROGRAM: Each year, The Bigger Screen selects ten countries and grants 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.
- LOCAL FILMMAKERS PROGRAM: We understand that the cost of making a film can be taxing, so to encourage rising talent, we waive the festival submission fee to local talent. With numerous worldwide locations for festivals, this provides great opportunity for filmmakers around the world to enter the international film scene. This opportunity opens the world of film. Think global, act local, right?
- INCLUSIVE AUDIENCE PROGRAM: Our screenings are always low or even free of charge to provide opportunity for interested film goers to view up and coming, challenging, and inspiring pieces of art, encouraging students, seniors, and those in underprivileged environments to share the experience of film and cinema. We welcome film goers, regardless of income and financial status.
- THE TARKOVSKI GRANT: 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.
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: www.thetarkovskigrant.org
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 and Tarkovski 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
In an added effort to support new and emerging filmmakers, Hong Kong Arthouse Film Festival will offer a free year of access to Videomaker's digital magazine to all filmmakers submitting their work. Videomaker Magazine is dedicated to video production, features tips and tricks for shooting and editing, buyer's guides for equipment, and editorial content on the industry of film. More information: www.videomaker.com
Optional: an exclusive one-on-one interview on www.iFilmFestival.com. The Hong Kong Arthouse Film Festival would like to offer more exposure to selected filmmakers and their work. Selected filmmakers will be invited after the festival to answer some online interview questions (about their work, future projects, views on film,...) if they wish to do so. The interview will appear as an article on film festival news page www.iFilmFestival.com, and will be shared on the Hong Kong Arthouse Film Festival's Facebook page. The interview will only be used within this context, and won't be used for other purposes without the filmmaker's permission.
Each edition, the festival will also give out awards in the following categories:
Best Narrative Film
Best Documentary Film
Best Animated Film
Best Experimental Film
Best Underground Film
Best Super Short Film
Best Sci-Fi Film
Best Hong Kong 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.
EXHIBITION & SCREENING
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.
LOSS OR DAMAGE
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.