Asian Film Awards aims for wider audience

To stream on Chinese Web, air on TV in Europe

BEIJING -- Hong Kong's biggest annual celebration of Asian cinema will try to reach a bigger-than-ever audience this year through new partnerships with a Chinese video Web site and international broadcasters.

Organizers of the third annual Asian Film Awards said Thursday that the March 23 event -- which will feature appearances by Tony Leung, William Hurt, Oliver Stone, Michelle Yeoh and Chinese leading ladies Zhou Xun and Zhao Wei -- could well reach an audience of 300 million households worldwide.

Set to be taped in front of a live audience of 3,000 guests expected at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center, the AFAs will be streamed live over the Internet for the first time via media partner, one of the world's most active video sharing Web sites.

Excerpts of the AFA presentation ceremony will then air the next day to 250 million households in Hong Kong and China on Hong Kong's official broadcaster, TVB Pearl.

Select portions also will air on TVB's Jade and Entertainment News Channel and repeat globally on the TVB8 channel. From April 4 onward, the AFA also will air on Star World, Xing Kong and Star Chinese Movies 2, News Corp.-owned channels that reach some 75 million homes across Asia and North America.

Underscoring growing global interest in Asian cinema, Swedish media group NonStop Television will rebroadcast the AFA in 12 territories including Denmark, Finland, Belgium and Luxembourg.