The event already rescheduled from its original March dates after the virus began to spread, but had been on course to become one of the first big festivals to take place in a physical form after a swathe of cancellations over the summer.
However, fest director Albert Lee confirmed today that the recent escalation in cases had prompted the decision. Going back a few months, Hong Kong had been relatively successful in containing the virus, but close to 500 cases in the last week has prompted calls for a lockdown in the city.
“While it is tremendously deflating, given all the hard work that we have put in, the well-being of our colleagues and the public is of the utmost importance to us,” said Lee. “Calling off HKIFF44 is heartbreaking, but we believe we have a duty to act with social responsibility. We will start working on the next edition of the festival straight away. We are determined to make up for the ‘lost’ HKIFF44.”
Filmart, the key Asian market, will continue with its online edition August 26-28.