CineAsia Canceled as Hong Kong Protests Spark Safety Concerns

Hong Kong Protesters - Getty - H - 2019
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Asia's annual industry gathering held in Hong Kong will not go ahead next month, say organizers, "due to the escalating violence."

CineAsia, the exhibition and distribution industry conference hosted in Hong Kong every autumn, has canceled its Dec. 9-12 run next month owing to ongoing protests and escalating violence in the city. 

"Due to the escalating violence and on-going anti-government protesting we felt it was in the best interest of all concerned to cancel the convention. We could not provide safety for our guests and received many comments that companies were concerned about sending their employees to Hong Kong at this time," Robert Sunshine, chairman of the Film Expo Group, told The Hollywood Reporter in a statement.

CineAsia has been an annual stop on the Asian entertainment calendar for Hollywood studio execs, with full screenings of upcoming tentpoles part of the three-day event.

The 25th edition at the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre, however, has been canceled as the city wrestles with turbulent political unrest and protests over the role of China in its affairs. The major Hollywood studios and European players like Unifrance were due to attend the Asian convention.

Besides Hollywood movie screenings and a trade show for major, regional and independent movie studios, Vietnamese actress Veronica Ngo was already announced to receive this year's Female Star of the Year award at the CineAsia awards ceremony Dec. 12.

The Film Expo Group, based in New York City, also produces CineEurope, held in Barcelona, and ShowEast, held in Miami.