Macau Film Festival: 'Paddington 2' Set as Opener, Laurent Cantet to Head Jury

'Paddington 2'

'Rogue One' co-star Donnie Yen has joined Jeremy Renner as an ambassador for the fest, which this year will feature a competition section made up of titles by first- and second-time filmmakers.

The regional premiere of Paul King’s Paddington 2 will open the second edition of the International Film Festival & Awards Macao (IFFAM), while French filmmaker Laurent Cantet will lead the event's main competition jury, it was announced Friday.

Set to run Dec. 8-14 in the former Portuguese colony, the Macau festival's main competition section will feature a lineup made up exclusively of films by first- and second-time directors. The contenders include TIFF titles Borg vs. McEnroe by Januz Metz and Beast by Michael Pearce; Xin Yukun's Wrath of Silence ; and Samuel Maoz's Foxtrot.

Hong Kong action hero and Rogue One co-star Donnie Yen and Korean star D.O. have joined Jeremy Renner and Miriam Yeung as talent ambassadors for the Macau fest, where they all will walk the red carpet and participate in festival events.

“From our outstanding crowd-pleasing opening-night film Paddington 2 to the exciting competition lineup of first and second features, our thrilling galas and special presentations and our best of festival panorama, I believe we are showcasing the very best films of the year to the people here," said IFFAM artistic director Mike Goodridge. "I can’t wait for the filmmakers to come and present their films in Macao."

Also vying for contention in the competition section will be Custody by Xavier Legrand, Hunting Season by Natalia Garagiola, My Pure Land by Sarmad Masud, The Cakemaker by Ofir Raul Grazier, The Hungry by Bornila Chatterjee and Three Peaks by Jan Zabeil.

Cantet's jury will be composed of filmmaker Jessica Hausner, Asia-based novelist Lawrence Osborne, actress-director Joan Chen and helmer Royston Tan.

The Asian premiere of Saul Dibb's Journey's End will receive an out-of-competition gala screening alongside Bong Joon-ho's Netflix film Okja, which will be shown on the big screen for the first time in southern China. Thai filmmaker Pen-ek Ratanaruang's Samui Song will also get a gala showing, with the director and cast in attendance in Macau.

Bernardo Bertolucci's landmark China film The Last Emperor get a special presentation in honor of its 30th anniversary, as will Guillermo del Toro's The Shape of Water in tribute to its Venice Film Festival's Golden Lion win.

Additional strands will include a "best of fest" panorama — comprising 10 award-winning films featuring Call Me by Your Name, The Florida Project, Angels Wear White and Sweet Country, among others — and the Flying Daggers section, which highlights excellence in genre filmmaking, with such titles as Jean-Stephane Sauvaire's A Prayer Before Dawn and Brian Taylor’s Mom and Dad.

The IFFAM is organized by Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes, director of the Macao Government Tourism Office, and Lorna Tee, head of festival management. 

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