The 19th Hong Kong - Asia Film Financing Forum (HAF) Brief Report

The Report of the 20th Hong Kong Asian Film Financing Forum (HAF) will be published upon its completion.

The 19th Hong Kong - Asia Film Financing Forum (HAF) was held over three days from 15 to 17 March in conjunction with Filmart Online. The event was staged online the second year due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.  

The forum was organised by the Hong Kong International Film Festival Society (HKIFFS), co-organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), and financially supported by Create Hong Kong (CreateHK) and Film Development Fund (FDF). Held concurrently with Hong Kong International Film and TV Market (FILMART) for the fifteenth time, HAF was once again one of the core events of Entertainment Expo Hong Kong.

HAF is widely recognised as one of the most significant film-financing platforms in Asia. Over the three-day period, HAF attracted leading film financers, producers, distributors and buyers, connecting them with talented filmmakers through business meetings and seminar, pitching and networking events for potential co-production opportunities.


1.     Shortlisted Projects and Filmmakers

This year, HAF has received 321 submissions in the HAF Project section, among which 28 projects from 14 places were shortlisted, including Afghanistan, Bhutan, Canada, China, France, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Spain, Taiwan and The Philippines.  The selection includes 20 fiction film projects and eight projects in the expanded documentary section, covering a wide range of subjects.

On the other hand, the Work-in-Progress (WIP) initiative, which enters its fifth edition in 2021, is designed to provide a platform for later-stage projects seeking completion funding, post-production partners, distributors and sales agents, film festival supports, and other industry services. This year WIP line-up covers two sections, including 11 fiction film and nine documentary film projects, selected from 129 submissions that have completed or nearly completed shooting or production.


2.    International Partners (in alphabetical order):

  1. Asian Project Market (APM), Busan International Film Festival (South Korea)
  2. CineMart, International Film Festival Rotterdam (The Netherlands)
  3. CPH:DOX, Copenhagen International Documentary Film Festival (Denmark)
  4. DMZ International Documentary Film Festival (South Korea)
  5. Festival Scope, Moving Scope SAS (France)
  6. Focus Asia, Far East Film Festival (Italy)
  7. Film Bazaar, National Film Development Corporation (NFDC) (India)
  8. FIRST International Film Festival (China)
  9. Golden Horse Film Project Promotion (FPP), Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival (Taiwan)
  10. Guangzhou International Documentary Film Festival (GZDOC) (China)
  11. International Documentary Filmfestival Amsterdam(idfa), (The Netherland)
  12. Marchè du Film (France)
  13. Mercato Internazionale Audiovisivo (MIA), International Rome Film Festival (Italy)
  14. Network of Asian Fantastic Films (NAFF), Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival (South Korea)
  15. One International Women Film Festival (ONEIWFF) (China)16.  SIFF Project, Shanghai International Film Festival (China)


3. Concurrent Events and Advisory:

Concurrent Events:

  •    Hong Kong International Film Festival (HKIFF)
  •    HKIFF Cine Fan  
  •    Hong Kong International Film & TV Market (FILMART)



The 19th HAF’s advisory is comprised of esteemed industry professionals, including:

  • 9 International Advisors
  • 1 Honorary Legal Advisor
  • 4 Project Reading Committee Members


4. Industry participation:

Online business meetings were arranged for 28 selected HAF Projects and 20 selected WIP Projects. Participating HAF guests included film financiers, film producers, film buyers and distributors, film festival delegates, representatives of film funds and film commissions, production companies and post-production houses.



  •  Asian Shadows - Chinese Shadows, Broadway Cinematheque, Golden Dragon Pictures Ltd., Good Move Media, Heaven Pictures (HK) Culture & Media Co., Ltd., Hong Kong Arts Centre, Hong Kong Asian Film Festival, Hong Kong Documentary Initiative, Irresistible Films, M+ Museum for Visual Culture, Mar Vivo Films, Medialink Entertainment Ltd., mm2 Entertainment Hong Kong Ltd., Petra Films, Sony Pictures Entertainment and The Walt Disney Company (Hong Kong) Ltd.



  • Alibaba Pictures, Bilibili, Cinerent Beijing Ltd., Dirty Monkey Productions, DongChun Films Co., Ltd., Donwa Pictures, Emei Film Group, Fujian Hengye Pictures Co., Ltd., Gootime Media Co., Ltd., Hainan Island International Film Festival, Hishow Entertainment, Huayi Brothers Media Corp., JiangSu OMNIJOI Movie Co., Ltd., Lantern Film, Midnight Blur Films, Perfect World Pictures, QC Media, Rediance, Shanghai International Film Festival | SIFF Project, Shanghai MoreJoy Entertainment Co., Ltd., Shanghai Moyi Culture Communication Co., Ltd., ShanWei Film Industry, Spark Project and The One International Women's Film Festival.



  • CHOU'S Entertainment Ltd., Flash Forward Entertainment, Joint Entertainment International Inc., Machi Xcelsior Studios, MandarinVision Co., Ltd., Million Star Entertainment Inc., Modern Cinema, Perfect Sound Co., Ltd., Taipei Culture Foundation - Taipei Film Commission, Taipei Film Festival and Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival | Film Project Promotion.



  • Hiroshima Film Commission, Hiroshima International Film Festival, Loaded Films Ltd., NHK Enterprises, Tokyo International Film Festival and UNIJAPAN.



  • Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival | Network of Asian Fantastic Films, Busan International Film Festival | Asian Project Market, DMZ International Documentary Film Festival, Hanmac Culture Group, Hive Filmworks Inc., Miru Pictures Inc., Seesaw Pictures and Seoul Film Commission.



  • Doc Edge (New Zealand), Endeavor Content (Singapore), Film Development Council Of The Philippines (The Philippines), Harimau Media Group (Malaysia), HTV Entertainment Ltd. (Malaysia), In-Docs (Indonesia), iwonder (Singapore), M'GO Films (Singapore), mm2 Entertainment Sdn. Bhd. (Malaysia), National Film Development Corp. Ltd. (India), New Zealand Film Commission (New Zealand), Paperheart (Malaysia), Singapore International Film Festival (Singapore) and White Light Studio (Thailand).



  • Alpha Violet, Arte France, C & Co, Cannes Directors' Fortnight, Diaphana, Dissidenz Films, Elle Driver, Festival de Cannes | Marchè du Film, Festival International de Cinèma Marseille, Haut et Court, Haut Les Mains Productions, House on Fire, KOI Films, Les Contes Modernes, Memento Films International, Totem Films and Windrose.



  • Born Wild Ltd., Celsius Entertainment, London Indian Film Festival, Open City Documentary Festival, Plaza Mayor Company Ltd., Taskovski Films Ltd. and TVF International.



  •  ANT!DOTE Sales (Russia), ANT!PODE Sales and Distribution (Russia), Beofilm (Denmark), Berlinale Co-Production Market (Germany), Berlinale Forum (Germany), DocsBarcelona Industry (Spain), Doclisboa - International Film Festival (Portugal), DOK Leipzig - International Leipzig Festival for Documentary and Animated Film (Germany), DokuFest - International Documentary and Short Film Festival (Kosovo), Fortissimo Films (The Netherlands), Giornate degli Autori - Venice Days (Italy), International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (The Netherlands), International Film Festival Rotterdam | CineMart (The Netherlands), Intramovies (Italy), Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival (The Czech Republic), Lightdox (Switzerland), Locarno Film Festival | Open Doors (Switzerland), Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg (Germany), Palmroos Produktion (Sweden), San Sebastian International Film Festival (Spain), Slovak Film Institute (The Slovak Republic), Strada Reali (Malta), Ties That Bind (Italy), Udine Far East Film Festival | Focus Asia (Italy) and Venice International Film Festival (Italy).



  • Echelon Talent Management Inc., Media DW Inc., SC Productions Inc. and Toronto International Film Festival.



  • American Documentary | POV, Cheng Cheng Films, Chicago International Film Festival, CineCina Film Festival, SK Global Entertainment and Sundance Film Festival.



  • Marrakech International Film Festival (Morocco).


5. Project Accomplishments:

HAF alumni have gone on to enjoy both box office success and critical acclaim at major film festivals around the world with their completed projects, effectively realising the opportunities offered by the forum.  


Last Days at Sea (WIP 2020) by Venice ATIENZA (The Philippines) was shortlisted for the Generation Kplus Competition in Berlin International Film Festival 2021.


Drifting (WIP 2020) by Jun LI (Hong Kong) was selected for Hong Kong International Film Festival 2021, and shortlisted for the Big Screen Competition in International Film Festival Rotterdam 2021.

Summer Blur (WIP 2020) by HAN Shuai (China) won the Feimu Awards in Pingyao Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon International Film Festival 2020, FIPRESCI Award in Busan International Film Festival 2020, and selected for Hong Kong International Film Festival 2021, shortlisted for the Generation Kplus Competition in Berlin International Film Festival 2021.

Wu Hai (WIP 2020) by ZHOU Ziyang (China) won the FIPRESCI Prize in San Sebastian Film Festival 2020, and selected for Hong Kong International Film Festival 2021.


Faraway My Shadow Wandered (WIP 2019) by LIAO Jiekai and Sudhee LIAO (Singapore, Japan) was selected for the World Premiere of Singapore Panorama in Singapore International Film Festival 2020. 

Hello! Tapir (WIP 2019) by Kethsvin CHEE (Taiwan) was Nominated for Best Visual Effects in Golden Horse Awards 2020. 

Marygoround (WIP 2019) by Daria WOSZEK (Poland) won the Best Film, Best Director, Best Actress and Cheval Noir Award in Fantasia International Film Festival 2020.   

Odoriko (WIP 2019) by OKUTANI Yoichiro (Japan) was Nominated for Best Feature-Length Documentary in International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam 2020.  

The Secret Diary of a Mom to Be (HAF 2019) by LUK Yee-sum (Hong Kong) was commercial released in 2020.  


Me and the Cult Leader (originally titled AGANAI: The Atonement) (WIP 2018) by SAKAHARA Atsushi (Japan) was shortlisted for IDA Documentary Awards 2020, selected for Hong Kong International Film Festival 2021, Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival 2020, San Diego Asian Film Festival 2020, International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam 2020, Montreal International Documentary Festival 2020 and World Premiere in Sheffield Doc/Fest 2020.

Tracing Her Shadow (originally titled Seeing Nara Again) (HAF 2019) by SONG Pengfei (Japan) was selected for Hong Kong International Film Festival 2021, World Premiere in Shanghai International Film Festival 2020 and Nara International Film Festival 2020.  


The Pencil (WIP 2018) by Natalya NAZAROVA (Russia) was selected for Cairo International Film Festival 2019. 

City of Lost Things (HAF 2012) by YEE Chih-Yen (Taiwan) won the Best Animated Feature in Golden Horse Awards 2020. 

 Please click here for more details.



6. Event Highlights 

Over the three-day period, HAF organized online business meetings, two open pitch sessions and a virtual party to connect global industry professionals with talented filmmakers, encouraging collaboration across borders and facilitating financial support for the Asian cinema.

A) Project Meetings

Date: 15 - 17 March 2021

HAF Online Platform


HAF arranged online business meetings over the three-day period to connect filmmakers with global investors, distributors and buyers to explore co-production opportunities.

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WhatsApp Image 2021-03-23 at 17

WhatsApp Image 2021-03-23 at 17


B) WIP Open Pitch


Part I: Documentary

Date: 15 March 2021

Time: 10:00am – 12:00noon





Part II: Fiction

Date: 15 March 2021

Time: 2:00pm - 4:00pm




This year marked the 5th edition of “Work-in-Progress” Open Pitch. Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, the open pitch this year was again held online via pre-recorded video footages with Chinese and English subtitles. The aim of the open pitch was to promote the selected film projects and connect the talented filmmakers with professionals and investors, post-production companies, distribution agents and film festival programmers. Filmmakers were invited to present their projects in two virtual open pitch sessions on 15 March, 2021. The sessions aimed at the audience of film industry professionals attending FILMART and HAF. 1,000 audience views were recorded in total. Private meetings with the attendees were also arranged. 


The 20 presented projects included 11 fiction films and 9 documentaries. Fiction projects included Anastasia TSANG's A Light Never Goes Out, Judy CHU 's Sunshine of My Life and Dalmira TILEPBERGEN's Lonely Pine, Václav KADRNKA's Saving One Who Was Dead, Arsalan AMIRI's Zavala, CHANG Tso-Chi's Red Horse in the Summer Sky, Louis YIN's As Day Comes and Goes, CHEN Guan's Sometimes It's Like Going Back to Childhood, Renai WEI Yongyao's The Wind Will Say, GAO Lingyang's To Love Again and HUANG Ji and OTSUKA Ryuji’s Stonewalling. Documentary projects included Ibrahim NASH'AT's Between the Hooks, Burak ÇEVIK's Forms of Forgetting, Rajan KATHET and Sunir PANDEY's No Winter Holidays, Ananta THITANAT's Scala , Eden BERNAL's The Siren Song, Christian ABBOUD's Yasmine's Journal, YANG Bo's The Return of Agaar, Frankie SIN's Our Second Home and TSANG Tsui-shan's Winter Chants.


C) HAF Goes to Cannes


HAF partners with Marchè du Film the fourth time and will present the program "HAF Goes to Cannes" at Marchè du Film of Festival de Cannes in July this year.  We announced five WIP projects including A Light Never Goes Out, No Winter Holidays, Red Horse in the Summer Sky, Saving One Who Was Dead and Stonewalling were selected.  These projects can enjoy the benefits of screening their film footages, online meetings with guests and industrial professionals, project exposure, social networking, press release and newsletter mention offered by the organiser.


Anastasia TSANG - A Light Never Goes Out (Hong Kong)


Rajan KATHET, Sunir PANDEY - No Winter Holidays (Nepal, South Korea)

CHANG Tso-Chi - Red Horse in the Summer Sky (Taiwan)

Václav KADRNKA - Saving One Who Was Dead (The Czech Republic, The Slovak Republic)

HUANG Ji, OTSUKA Ryuji - Stonewalling (China)



D) Virtual Filmmakers’ Party


HAF organized a virtual party with HKIFF Collection and Good Move Media through the online platform Gather.Town for filmmakers and guests. This provided an opportunity for them to network and meet with one another in a novel and casual setting outside their online meeting rooms.


Date: 16 March 2021 (Tuesday)

Time: 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm (Hong Kong Time)


Attendees: approx. 50 guests


Attendees’ Interactions and Activities

·             Filmmakers and guests conversed as naturally as in their real life.


·             Guests enjoyed private conversations in private zones.

10 chit-chat


·             Guests watched teasers / director showreels and viewed the project information at each project’s booth.


E) HAF Awards Announcement

HAF presented a total of 12 awards, worth over HK$1.2 million (approx. US$157,000) in cash and value-in-kind.


The 19th HAF Award List

HAF Fiction Award (Hong Kong Project)

Oliver CHAN Siu-kuen - Her Lullaby (Hong Kong)

HAF Fiction Award (Non-Hong Kong Project)

Rishi CHANDNA - The Catch (India)

HAF Documentary Award (Hong Kong Project)

Bud-ming - The Way We AD (Hong Kong)

HAF Documentary Award (Non-Hong Kong Project)

WANG Bing - I Come from Ikotun (France, Hong Kong)

WIP Fiction Award

HUANG Ji, OTSUKA Ryuji - Stonewalling (China)

WIP Documentary Award

Rajan KATHET, Sunir PANDEY - No Winter Holidays (Nepal, South Korea)

Heaven Pictures Young Director Award

TSANG Tsui-shan - Winter Chants (Hong Kong)

Cinerent Award

QI Rui - Donna, Donna (China)

Network of Asian Fantastic Films (NAFF) Award

Lucky KUSWANDI - 108 Days (Indonesia)

Udine Focus Asia Award

YANG Mingming Getting Nowhere (China)

White Light Post-Production Award (HAF Project)

CAI Chengjie - Splash (China)

White Light Post-Production Award (WIP Project)

YANG Bo The Return of Agaar (China)


7. HAF Statistics



321 HAF project submissions and 129 WIP project submissions were received from around the world. 28 HAF projects and 20 WIP projects were selected to attend HAF Online during 15 – 17 March 2021.


Financiers and Appointments

The participating guests included film financiers, film producers, film buyers and distributors, film festival delegates, representatives of film funds and film commissions, production companies and post-production houses. Throughout the three days of the online HAF, 1,102 meetings were arranged for 48 selected projects.