IFFAM 2016: a retrospective

Billed as a “uniquely Asian film festival” by director and producer Shekhar Kapur, the 2016 IFFAM brought contemporary Asian cinema into the spotlight alongside the regional premieres of international films. 

The six-day festival opened with French ballet drama “Polina”, directed by Valerie Muller and Angelin Preljocaj. Juliette Binoche starred opposite newcomer Anastasia Shevtsova, who played a gifted but conflicted young dancer preparing to join Moscow’s prestigious Bolshoi Ballet.

For the Competition segment, the Best Film award went to “The Winter”, Best Director to Marco Martins and Best Actor to Nuno Lopes for their work on “Saint George” and Best Actress to Lyndsey Marshal for her part in “Trespass Against Us”. Hong Kong-born Jennifer Yu was named Best Young New Actress for her role in local production “Sisterhood”.

Kapur oversaw a festival jury which comprised Japanese actress and writer Makiko Watanabe, Korean actor Jung Woo-Sung, Italian film festival veteran, Giovanna Fulvi and Hong Kong director Stanley Kwan.

The festival celebrated Taiwanese actress Gwei Lun-mei with a three-film retrospective: “Forêt Debussy” (2016), “Secret” (2007) and “The Flying Swords of Dragon Gate” (2011).

Leading East Asian directors – including John Woo, Tsui Hark, Park Chan Wook, Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Johnnie To and Ann Hui, among others – also selected 12 classic films from Italy, Spain, Britain, France and India to be screened as part of the ‘Crossfire’ sidebar.


Trophy | The spiraling reel

The IFFAM trophies are the creations of internationally acclaimed production designer and art director Dante Ferretti.  The 73-year-old Italian – who began work in the late 1960s and ventured into international sets in the 1980s – has collaborated with award-winning Hollywood directors such as Martin Scorsese (The Aviator, Hugo) and Tim Burton (Sweeney Todd).

Ferretti has won three Academy Awards and been nominated for 16. His work in production design has also swept film prizes from around the world, including three BAFTA Awards and four of Italy’s David di Donatello Awards. The Italian press has awarded Ferretti 12 Silver Ribbons over nearly 25 years.

Ferretti also designed Rome’s Cinecitta World, the first Italian theme park dedicated to cinema, and helped establish the Museum of Federico Fellini in Rimini.  

His IFFAM trophies, shaped like a spiraling film reel, symbolize the unforgettable origins and the promising future of cinema.



Q Who are the organizers of IFFAM?

A The International Film Festival & Awards Macao (“IFFAM”) is jointly organized by the Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO) and the Macau Films & Television Productions and Culture Association (MFTPA). As the local tourism authority, MGTO aims to develop Macau as an international hub of arts and culture. MFTPA is a non-profit association whose mission is to develop the local film and television industry through grants, workshops and promotional activities.

Q What is IFFAM’s mission?

A IFFAM’s mission is intended to benefit three different spheres: International, Industry and Macau. Internationally, IFFAM aims to establish itself as a hub for new Asian filmmakers to spread their wings, and to create industry programmes that support them and their projects. Industry-wise, IFFAM is forging its own identity as an international competition and platform for Eastern and Western industry professionals to collaborate in both artistic and commercial terms. Finally, IFFAM wants to promote Macau as a cultural destination and location for film production, and to cultivate a local audience for world cinema with films that are both inventive and crowd-pleasing.

Q What is the significance of the second edition’s theme,  ‘A New Avenue to the World of Filmsʼ?

A The second IFFAM represents a road to a global platform for first- and second-time filmmakers in particular. While great directors and stars are hallmarks of every film festival, IFFAM is celebrating filmmakers and industry professionals who are just starting their careers and are seeking new opportunities. The festival’s colorful programme is designed to entice members of the public who have not yet seen what global cinema has to offer, as well as international guests who have not experienced the excitement of Macau and Greater China.


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