Macao Film Festival Reveals Plans for First Edition

Clifford Coonan
Marco Mueller

The inaugural movie event in southern China, headed by festival veteran Marco Mueller, will include a red-carpet competition section and four additional programming strands.

Marco Mueller's new international film festival in Macau, the former Portuguese colony-turned-casino enclave in southern China, has outlined the plans and structure of its inaugural edition. 

Expected to be a notable addition to the international festival calendar, the International Film Festival and Awards Macao will feature a main competition section and four additional non-competitive strands. The first edition is set to run Dec. 8-14.

The event's screening program will include the following categories:

Competition: 10 to 12 new international films to be judged by a jury of five film professionals;
Out of Competition/Gala: a selection of six of the most important works from the latter half of the year;
Hidden Dragons: six films representing the latest trends in contemporary Asian genre cinema;
Best of Fest Panorama: five or six award-winning feature films from major international festivals;
Crossfire: 12 non-East Asian, non-U.S. genre films selected by a dozen major East Asian film directors.

"There will be a strong but not exclusive focus on genre titles," organizers said Tuesday in a statement. Additional activities at the festival will include an industry screening program, master classes, education initiatives and a co-production event.

Festival director Mueller, who previously served as head of the Locarno, Venice, Rome, Beijing and Fuzhou Silk Road film festivals, also announced the IFFAM's selection team, including Deepti D’Cunha (India), Shan Dongbing (China), Marie-Pierre Duhamel (Western Europe), Sandra Hebron (U.S. and U.K.), Diego Lerer (Latin America), Tomita Mikiko (Japan) and Alena Shumakova (Russia, CIS and East Europe). Much of the selection team is following Mueller from his earlier festival engagements. Asian industry veteran Lorna Tee has joined the event as head of festival management.

“I am especially happy to be reunited one more time with the team who have contributed so much to the invention of a diverse and compelling program for the Venice and Rome festivals, and who have helped bringing so many world and international premieres to Beijing and Fuzhou," said Mueller.

The event also has assembled an influential group of international advisors and program consultants. It includes Chinese director Huang Jianxin, Korean producer Oh Jung-wan, Arte France Cinema managing director Olivier Pere, U.S. producer-screenwriter James Schamus, Hong Hong producer Nansun Shi, Portuguese producer Luis Urbano and Fortissimo Films chairman Michael J. Werner.

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