1st International Film Festival & Awards Hailed A Success

Competition winners and guests toast each other on stage
Director Feng Xiaogang was presented with the Career Achievement Award by Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture of the Macao SAR Government Alexis Tam
Chinese superstar and IFFAM Image Ambassador Zhang Ziyi at the opening ceremony

The 1st International Film Festival & Awards´╝ÄMacao (IFFAM) was successfully held at Macao Cultural Centre and other locations around town from the 8th to 13th December, 2016. The main highlight of IFFAM, the Competition Section pitted 12 feature films from around the globe against each other for a total of eight awards, while the 'Eye of the Audience' Macao Audience Choice Award, invited local audiences to select their winners. The Festival attracted over 800 guests including international film directors and film festival directors, movie stars, representatives from the film industry and other interested parties.

The Best Film Award went to 'The Winter' (Argentina); Best Director Award went to Marco Martins, the director of 'Saint George' (Portugal); Best Actor Award went to Nuno Lopes in 'Saint George' (Portugal); Best Actress Award went to Lyndsey Marshal in 'Trespass Against Us' (United Kingdom); Best Technical Contribution Award went to 'Elon Doesn't Believe in Death' (Brazil) for Original Music & Sound Design - Sound: Pablo Lamar and Original Soundtrack: Daniel Saavedra; Best Screenplay went to Amy Jump and Ben Wheatley, screenwriters for 'Free Fire' (United Kingdom); Best New Young Actress Award went to Jennifer Yu from 'Sisterhood' (Macao); while the Jury Prize went to 'Trespass Against Us' (United Kingdom). The 'Eye of the Audience' Macao Audience Choice Award went to 'Sisterhood' (Macao).

The awards for films in Official Competition were decided by an international jury comprising Jury President Shekhar Kapur and jury members Jung Woo-Sung, Stanley Kwan, Makiko Watanabe and Giovanna Fulvi.

IFFAM welcomed international filmmakers and industry delegates from across the globe, with 54 public screenings taking place during the Festival. Glittering star-studded Gala red carpet events unfolded throughout the Festival daily with filmmakers and cast attending to support works including the opening night film 'Polina, danser sa vie', of the competition films and other screenings.

The Asian Blockbuster Film 2016 Award, established by the Festival in conjunction with Variety Magazine, went to 'Train to Busan'. The MFTPA Special Award established by Macau Films & Television Productions and Culture Association (MFTPA) was presented to Yu Dong, IFFAM special advisor, film producer and president of Polybona Films. The Career Achievement Award went to acclaimed China director/actor Feng Xiaogang.

To encourage the creation of screenplays, The CINEFANTASY International Short Film Screenwriting Competition accepted 168 screenplays from 44 regions. The winning awards went to IIashree and Manasri Goswami, Indian screenplay writers of 'Legacy of Dreams', and Alessa Ellefson, Belgian screenplay writer of 'The Seeker's Key'.

Another IFFAM related event - the Macao Short Film Competition - received 19 works, of which five were shortlisted by the selection committee, with 'Humanism' wining the top prize, 'Rua da Barca' and 'A Friend of Mine' received the second and third prize, respectively, while 'Reach Its Zenith' was the most popular short film online, with over 1,900 likes posted on Facebook.

Academy award winning director Tom McCarthy and Hollywood producer Gianni Nunnari participated in Masterclasses during the Festival, part of a programme of events which also included pre-Festival Masterclasses with Festival Ambassadors Johnnie To and Ann Hui.

Another successful initiative of IFFAM - the Crouching Tigers Project Lab - was a highlight of the industry programme, with three days of activities focused on twelve international projects in development, each represented by their director and producer. The high quality of the projects and filmmakers resulted in a difficult decision thus the jury decided to award four projects rather than three as initially planned - namely 'River Town' (USA / China); 'Inspector Lou' (UK / Belgium / Democratic Republic of the Congo); 'Pintakasi' (Philippines); and '270 San Ma Lo, Macao' (Portugal).

The President of the Organizing Committee of IFFAM, and Macao Government Tourism Office Director, Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes, observed that the Festival had raised the international profile of Macao whilst promoting a synergistic effect for cultural tourism in Macao. She also observed that the Festival could provide world-class networking opportunities, enabling Macao to serve as a regional communications platform whilst promoting the local Macao movie industry and local cultural creative industry. She also believed the Festival could broaden local citizens' horizons to provide benefits for Macao at various levels.

For red carpet images and more information about the 1st International Film Festival & Awards Macao, please visit: www.iffamacao.com.