The first Asian Film Awards will launch March 20 on the opening night of the 31st Hong Kong International Film Festival, Wilfred Wong, chairman of the Hong Kong International Film Festival Society has announced. Organized by the HKIFF and held in conjunction with Entertainment Expo, the awards will honor Asian work from the past year. Awards will recognize films and filmmakers from all over Asia--from Iran to China to India--in ten categories including Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Screenwriter, Best Cinematographer, Best Production Designer, Best Composer, Best Editor and Best Visual Effects decided by a panel of 17 "well-known" film professionals. Vying for best picture this year are "Curse of the Golden Flower" (Hong Kong/China), "Exiled" (Hong Kong), "The Host" (South Korea), "Love and Honor" (Japan), "Opera Jawa" (Indonesia/Austria) and "Still Life" (China). For more information and a list of all nominees, visit the Asian Film Awards' website. [Brian Brooks]