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Events & Festivals

5th International Film Festival & Awards Macao to get under way online

A stellar international competition, short film contest, and a full programme of feature-length and short films streamed online are the headline-grabbing elements of the 5th International Film Festival & Awards • Macao (IFFAM). This year’s festival runs from 3 to 8 December. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has seen the festival move fully online, with 31 feature films and 10 short films across each of the five cinematic sections available to stream. Also available online are five “In Conversation” sessions featuring internationally renowned filmmakers and actors. The awards presentation ceremony is to take place virtually on 8 December.

The International Competition features 11 feature films from first and second-time filmmakers, including Danish-American actor Viggo Mortensen’s directorial debut FallingThe Cloud In Her Room, winner of the Tiger Award at this year’s International Film Festival Rotterdam; Love Poem which won the top prize at the FIRST International Film Festival this year; 2020 Jeonju International Film Festival prize-winner Black Light, and Cannes 2020 label titles LimboSpring Blossom and Sweat. The best feature will win the US$60,000 prize.

The jury is led by director, producer and screenwriter Ning Hao. It includes director and producer Mattie Do from Laos, German actress Nina Hoss, Singaporean director and producer Eric Khoo, and producer Albert Lee, who heads the Hong Kong Film Festival.

The Shorts Competition includes 10 Chinese-language short films from Singapore, the United States, Thailand, Mainland China and Hong Kong, along with two titles from Macao, that will be appreciated by Chinese cinema aficionados. The jurors include Jury President Jia Fu (Mainland China), Mathilde Henrot (France) and Johnny Ma (China/Canada).

In Flying Daggers, there are three international films in a showcase of the latest styles in genre cinema: Meander, by Mathieu Turi (France); The Paper Tigers, by Quoc Bao Tran (U.S.); and Relic, by Natalie Erika James (Australia).

The global themes continue in World Panorama, a collection of 11 celebrated directors and award-winning films from major international film festivals, curated specifically for IFFAM. There are titles from America, Europe and Asia, including director Thomas Vinterberg’s Another Round that claimed the Best Actor award at the San Sebastián Film Festival earlier this year; Kelly Reichardt’s highly acclaimed First Cow; Venice Film Festival hits Quo Vadis, Aida? from Jasmila Zbanic, and Sun Children from Majid Majidi; and A Balance, by Yujiro Harumoto, winner of the New Currents section at this year’s Busan International Film Festival.

Another festival strand, Special Presentations, features six films, including the Mainland China epic My People My Homeland; the thrilling French animated film Calamity, directed by Remi Chayé; crowd-pleasing Japanese comedy Tonkatsu DJ Agetaro by Ken Ninomiya; the acclaimed documentary 76 Days about the struggles of frontline health professionals battling the COVID-19 pandemic in Wuhan; A Dream of a Lifetime about Alex Fong’s 45-km swim around Hong Kong; and Narcissus Off Duty, by Brazilian duo Ricardo Calil and Renato Terra.

“In Conversation” will present discussions conducted online, featuring actor and director Viggo Mortensen, Japanese film director Hirokazu Koreeda who is this year’s recipient of IFFAM’s Spirit of Cinema award, IFFAM’s International Competition jury president Ning Hao, jury member Nina Ross, and South Korean director Hur Jin-ho.

The IFFAM Industry Hub will go ahead in virtual form, from 3 to 5 December. This year, it will only include the IFFAM Project Market segment, due to restrictions linked to the COVID-19 pandemic. The IFFAM Project Market will once again present a selection of 14 projects – including Macao’s Marlin and The Darter, respectively by directors Maxim Bessmertny and Sam Leong – for an intensive programme of presentations and meetings conducted digitally with members of the global industry. The selected projects will be eligible for four cash awards while meeting with potential collaborators from around the world.

Any of the films in this year’s IFFAM may be streamed from the official website of IFFAM after signing up for an account and providing payment. Feature films or groups of short films may be rented for MOP50 each and can be watched within a 24- or 48-hour period by anyone in Macao or Hong Kong. “In Conversation” sessions are free to watch. The schedule and more information can be found here.

For more details about this year’s IFFAM, visit the official website.