Speech by Acting SCST at 16th Asian Film Awards (English only)


     Following is the speech by the Acting Secretary for Culture, Sports and Tourism, Mr Raistlin Lau, at the 16th Asian Film Awards today (March 12):
Dr Wong (Chairman of Asian Film Awards Academy, Dr Wilfred Wong), distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
     Good evening. It is my great pleasure to join you all, at the ceremony of the 16th Asian Film Awards (AFA).

     Tonight, I am also an actor, acting Secretary for Culture, Sports and Tourism, who is out of town. Obviously, I am not as professional as many of you here, for I still need my cue cards to remind me of my script. Therefore, I dare not aim for any award tonight, but just hope that you will bear with my amateur performance on stage.

     Ladies and gentlemen, AFA is a celebration for filmmakers, who have contributed to the Asian film industry, and it has a special bond with Hong Kong. Inaugurated in Hong Kong in 2007, AFA has become an international film event, and has built up its brand throughout the years, which led to its partnership with renowned festivals, namely Busan International Film Festival, and Tokyo International Film Festival. 

     After three years of the pandemic, the Government has been actively implementing various measures, with a view to resuming social and economic activities of Hong Kong. In the meantime, it has been four years, since AFA was last conducted in Hong Kong in 2019. The Government has just unveiled our roadmap to recovery, including our pledge to stage and support more international mega events and activities, to further augment our image and enhance our competitiveness as an events capital. The return of the ceremony to Hong Kong this year, is definitely the best sign of full recovery of Hong Kong after the pandemic, and to showcase the readiness of Hong Kong to stage international events and welcome all around the world.

     The National 14th Five-Year Plan has expressed clear support for Hong Kong, to develop into an East-meets-West centre for international cultural exchange. This has not only manifested our country’s expectation of Hong Kong, but also given full recognition, to the flourishing and diverse growth of arts, culture and creative industries in Hong Kong over the past years, and provided the sector with continuous development opportunities. The Government has been committed to developing arts, culture and creative industries, and has formulated strategic directions to support the development of Hong Kong, into an East-meets-West centre for international cultural exchange. 

     The Government has recently announced new measures to promote Hong Kong’s pop culture to audiences worldwide. New schemes will be rolled out to support collaboration between local and Asian production teams, for co-production of films, as well as development of new content on streaming platforms by cross-sectoral production teams. 

     We are pleased to see that AFA, aiming at recognising outstanding Asian films and filmmakers, strengthening the collaboration between Hong Kong and other Asian regions, and encouraging film and cultural exchanges in the regions, has established itself as a prestigious event, where Hong Kong, Asian and international filmmakers could gather together, pay tribute to their counterparts in Asia, and meet each other for exchanges and sharing, cultivating and exploring collaboration, with a view to producing films which continue to keep audience mesmerised and fascinated. This echoes with the Government’s strategic direction of enhancing cultural exchange and co-operation with the Mainland, and strengthening our connections with overseas arts and cultural organisations, and our goal of bringing Hong Kong films to wider audience. 

     Turning to this year’s AFA, competition is keen as always. I am happy to see that there are five Hong Kong films being nominated for eight awards in eight different categories, and I wish you only the best words. I would also like to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt gratitude to all of you, who have been joining hands with us in promoting the development of the film industry, and arts and cultural exchange between Hong Kong and the world. I wish the event a resounding success, and all guests and participants a most rewarding and enjoyable time in Hong Kong. Thank you very much.