The 4th International Film Festival & Awards Macao (IFFAM) – held from 5 to 10 December – was a showcase for 50 feature films and six short films this year, as well as a magnet attracting movie stars and filmmakers from near and far to Macao. In addition, film industry professionals from home and abroad attended the IFFAM Industry Hub for three consecutive days.
Best Actress from France, Juliette Binoche, Chinese film actress Carina Lau and acclaimed Korean boy band EXO’s leader Kim Jun-myeon (SUHO) took the role of Talent Ambassadors for the 4th IFFAM, further widening the media coverage for the Film Festival. In addition, Karan Johar (India), Kim Yong-Hwa (Korea) and Wang Xiaoshuai (Mainland China) were Festival Ambassadors for the 4th IFFAM.
At the Film Festival finale – the Awards Ceremony on December 10 – 10 films were in the running for five awards in the International Competition section, and another seven films in the New Chinese Cinema section competed for five awards. Among the hundreds of guests at the Macao Cultural Centre for the Award Ceremony were acclaimed festival directors, film stars, directors and other contributors to the art of cinema from around the world.
Glory for the winners
In the International Competition, Give Me Liberty won the award for best film, Fyzal Boulifa was best director for Lynn + Lucy, Roxanne Scrimshaw won best actress for her part in Lynn + Lucy, Sarm Heng was named best actor for his role in Buoyancy and Hamish Bennett won the best screenplay award for Bellbird. Buoyancy also received the Macao Audience Choice Award.
In the New Chinese Cinema competition, Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains won the award for best film, Anthony Chen was named best director for Wet Season, Zhou Dongyu was best actress for her part in Better Days, Xiaoliang Wu was best actor for his part in Wisdom Tooth and Johnna Ma won the best screenplay award for To Live to Sing.
A new competition section for 2019, the Shorts Competition saw Lonely Encounter take home the Best Short Film Award. The film was directed by a student from Macao who is studying in Hong Kong.
A host of other accolades were awarded at the gathering. Mainland Chinese director Li Shaohong collected the IFFAM “Spirit of Cinema” Achievement Award. To Live to Sing won the Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema Award.
A showing of the Hong Kong film I’m Livin’ It was the thought-provoking finale of the presentation ceremony and closed the Film Festival. The film is about the relationships struck up by a former high-flying banker who is reduced to sleeping every night in an open-all-hours fast food restaurant.
A movie business hub
A three-day occasion for people in the film industry to talk business, the IFFAM Industry Hub began on December 6. It attracted more than 200 people from more than 30 different parts of the world.
One element of the event, the IFFAM Project Market, saw 14 new film projects presented to industry delegates. The production crews of the film projects also met with interested parties to explore partnership opportunities at the Project Meetings.
Dear Wormwood won the award for the best project, The Day and Night of Brahma won the award for creative excellence, Drum Wave won the award for the best co-production and the Macao Spirit Award went to Uk Kei.
The IFFAM Industry Hub also showed projects in need of funding to complete production in the Work-in-Progress Presentation. The projects presented were Low Season, The East and Yakuza Princess.
Other events during the course of the festival were closed-door discussion events, a British Academy of Film and Television Arts master class given by English actress Lily James, a master class given by South Korean director Kim Yong-Hwa and an open-to-all conversation with Film Festival Talent Ambassador Juliette Binoche.