The Festival, which is entirely dedicated to Chinese-language films, screened seven Hong Kong films, more than half of the total number in the programme. The seven films were Pang Ho-cheung's Love Off the Cuff, Wong Chun's Mad World, Kearen Pang's 29+1, Wilson Yip's Paradox, Wong Jing and Jason Kwan's Chasing the Dragon, Kam Ka-wai's Colour of the Game and Kenneth Lau's Adieu.
Speaking at the opening night in Florence on 3 May before the screening of the opening film Love Off the Cuff, Deputy Representative of HKETO, Brussels, Miss Fiona Chau, said Hong Kong's films have brought pleasure, excitement and inspiration to millions of viewers around the world.
"Our film industry is just like Hong Kong – it is multifaceted, unique, energetic and very international. By promoting Hong Kong films overseas, we hope that more people would get to see the artistic side of Hong Kong, as a colourful city full of arts and culture."
She noted that young talents are on the rise, as guests would see from the work of some of the young directors selected for the Festival.
She added that the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government will continue to adopt a multi-pronged approach in promoting the development of the film industry, which includes encouraging local film production, nurturing talent, audience building and promoting the Hong Kong film brand name both in the region and overseas.
"In fact, one of the films in the Festival's programme, the award-winning Mad World, received funding from the Government-financed Film Development Fund," she said.
"Mad World went on to receive the Best New Director, Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress awards at the 2017 Hong Kong Film Awards. Two other movies to be screened by the Festival, Paradox and 29 + 1, are also award-winning films. Guests of the opening ceremony were also in for a treat with the opening film Love Off the Cuff, which features fine performances by its two main actors.
Earlier in the day, as part of HKETO, Brussels' ongoing efforts to attract overseas talents to Hong Kong, Miss Chau made a presentation to students at the University for Foreigners of Siena on postgraduate study and employment opportunities in Hong Kong.
Miss Chau briefed the students on Hong Kong's unique advantages under the "one country, two systems" principle, including the rule of law and its role as a gateway to the Mainland of China. Miss Chau said the HKSAR Government welcomes talents, professionals and entrepreneurs from around the world to work and stay in Hong Kong with a view to enhancing the city's competitive edge in today's globalised economy. She explained relevant talent admission initiatives including the Immigration Arrangements for Non-local Graduates and the Quality Migrant Admission Scheme.