The 42nd Hong Kong International Film Festival (HKIFF42) opened tonight at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, presenting two opening films, namely the international premiere of Omotenashi, a co-production from Japan and Taiwan, and the Asian premiere of Xiao Mei.

Stellar guests officiated at the opening ceremony include Bernard CHAN, the Under Secretary for Commerce & Economic Development; director Jay CHERN, actress TANAKA Rena and actor WANG Po-Chieh from Omotenashi; director Maren HWANG, actor CHEN Yi-Wen and actress JAO Cincin from Xiao Mei; Festival Ambassador Louis KOO; and German master filmmaker Werner HERZOG. Local celebrities including Sing LAM, Neo YAU, Hedwig TAM, WONG Yat Ho, Koyi MAK, Crystal CHEUNG and CHEN Zhifa were also present to kick off the 18-day festival.

Wilfred WONG, Chairman of the Hong Kong International Film Festival Society (HKIFFS), said, "This year's film festival continues our mission of promoting the latest films and classic masterpieces. We’re proud to showcase the international premiere of Omotenashi, , and the Asian premiere of Xiao Mei, which was also selected in the Panorama Section of the Berlin Film Festival. We also have celebrated actress Brigitte LIN Ching-Hsia as this year’s “Filmmaker in Focus”, in which 14 of her classics will be showcased, allowing fans to revisit her illustrious film career.”

WONG added that, thanks to the full support of HTC VIVE, ZOTAC and the Academy of Film of Hong Kong Baptist University, the festival is bringing audiences HTC's first virtual reality Chinese language film - The Deserted, directed by Taiwanese master TSAI Ming-Liang. Both the director and the Best Leading Actor of Golden Horse Awards LEE Kang-Sheng will visit Hong Kong again to lead the fans into the world of virtual reality. In addition, renowned American independent filmmaker Sean BAKER, and Japanese master documentarian HARA Kazuo will also meet the Hong Kong audience and share their creative insights.

At the opening ceremony, five-time HKIFF ambassador Louis KOO said, “This year’s promotional trailer is based on the theme of ‘telling stories’, implying that every film and every filmgoer has a story to tell. In Your Dreams, the movie that was selected in the Hong Kong Panorama Section is a good example of telling a good story. Apart from the breakthrough theme, the script has a nuanced portrayal of each character, allowing the audience to regain their lost youth. I am sure that everyone will be moved by this film."

The opening film, Omotenashi, depicts how three young people find their true selves in a ryokan and learn to appreciate different cultures as well as the value of things old and new. Another opening film, Xiao Mei, is a whodunit jam-packed with noir and suspense, reflecting the loneliness of the city through the sudden disappearance of a young girl.

HKIFF42 will be held from March 19 to April 5, 2018, with over 230 titles from 60 countries and regions, 63 of which are world, international or Asian premieres. Details of the programme can be found at www.hkiff.org.hk. Tickets for the public can be purchased online and at URBTIX outlets.

About The Hong Kong International Film Festival (HKIFF)

The Hong Kong International Film Festival (HKIFF) is one of Asia’s oldest and most reputable platforms for filmmakers, film professionals and filmgoers from all over the world to launch new work and experience outstanding films.

Screening over 250 titles from more than 55 countries in over 11 major cultural venues across the territory, the Festival is Hong Kong’s largest cultural event. For the past seven years, HKIFF has also produced and premiered anthologies of short films by well-known award winning filmmakers from Asia such as Ann HUI, KUROSAWA Kiyoshi, JIA Zhangke, Brillante MENDOZA, NAKATA Hideo, TSAI Ming-liang, Apichatpong WEERASETHAKUL, among others. From 2017, HKIFF will collaborate with Heyi Pictures to produce two feature films a year by young Chinese filmmakers that will have its world premiere at HKIFF.

Committed to discovering new talent, the Festival premieres the breadth of Chinese cinema and showcases Asian talents. Festival-goers have the opportunity to enjoy world-class films, attend seminars hosted by leading filmmakers from around the world, visit film exhibitions, participate in receptions and parties, and more.

The Festival draws extensive media coverage from over 300 local and international members of the press and continues to grow in importance as one of the premier platforms to launch films in Asia.

The 42nd Hong Kong International Film Festival (HKIFF42) will be held from 19 March to 5 April 2018.

About The Hong Kong International Film Festival Society Limited
The Hong Kong International Film Festival Society Limited (HKIFFS/Society) is a charitable, non-profit and non-governmental organisation dedicated to the discovery and promotion of creativity in the art and culture of film.

The Society is committed to making world cinema accessible and affordable to the public. It organizes the annual flagship the Hong Kong International Film Festival (HKIFF) and the Hong Kong – Asia Film Financing Forum (HAF) in March and April. Another annual highlight is the Summer International Film Festival (SummerIFF) held every August. The repertory HKIFF Cine Fan Programme was launched in April 2013 with the aim to enrich and deepen the experience of Hong Kong moviegoers through a monthly programme of contemporary, retrospective and thematic showcases.

Through its annual programmes, the Society promotes international appreciation of Asian, Hong Kong and Chinese film culture; introduces world cinema to Hong Kong audiences; and continues to underline Hong Kong’s key position in the international film community.

HKIFFS’s dedication to quality and intelligent programming, its devotion to the discovery of new areas of filmmaking in Asia and China, its exceptional work for Hong Kong cinema, seminars and acclaimed publications, gives it a unique and respected international reputation that helps promote Hong Kong cinema at home and abroad.