The Special Presentation category screens a selection of films curated by Artistic Director Mike Goodridge and Jury President Laurent Cantet.
The Hollywood highlights are “The Shape of Water”, a Cold War-era fairy-tale by Guillermo del Toro; “Suburbicon”, George Clooney’s dark take on suburbia; and “I, Tonya”, Craig Gillespie’s biopic of figure skater Tonya Harding.
Macau’s filmmakers serve up “Love is Cold”, a fusion of crime and romance, and the global premiere of local anthology “Passing Rain”; Hong Kong dishes out detective thriller “Stained”. Culinary enthusiasts will love “The Last Recipe” (Japan) and “C’est La Vie” (France, Canada, Belgium), which explore stories about chefs and cooking.
Cantet contributes “The Workshop” (France), a portrait of working-class youth. “My Generation” (UK) examines 1960s social upheaval as narrated by Michael Caine. The category’s oldest feature is 1987’s “The Last Emperor”, a multilingual production about the reign of Chinese Emperor Pu Yi.
The Flying Daggers category is a non-competitive selection of 2017’s best international genre films.
“A Day” (South Korea) follows a doctor who discovers a tragedy repeating itself in “Groundhog Day” fashion; action-packed “The Outlaws” (South Korea) depicts a detective caught in a Seoul gang war.
“Brawl in Cell Block 99” (USA) features a former boxer who falls into crime and violence, while “Mom and Dad” (USA) stars Nicolas Cage and Selma Blair as bloodthirsty parents.
“A Prayer Before Dawn” (France) depicts a young man fighting his way out of a Thai prison, while cross-border collaboration “Good Manners” (Brazil and France) is a supernatural yarn about a nurse raising a baby werewolf.
Q Why does the Special Presentation feature a category for ‘Food’ this year?
A The category was created to celebrate Macau’s recent designation as a UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy. Japanese director Yojiro Takita’s “The Last Recipe”, which revolves around one man’s search for a legendary historical dish, is devoted to the art of cookery and the passion required to become a top chef. French filmmakers Eric Toledano and Olivier Nakache collaborate on “C’est La Vie: Le Sense De La Fete”, an ensemble comedy about a chaotic catering company staging a disastrous wedding in a 17th century chateau.
Q What is the line-up for this year’s Crossfire segment?
A “Crossfire” encourages cultural exchange with six genre films specially selected by international directors. This year’s directors are Shekhar Kapur (India), Im Sang-soo (Korea), Pen-ek Ratanaruang (Thailand), Martin Koolhoven (the Netherlands), Guillermo Del Toro (Mexico) and Ivan Sen (Australia). The rules of the segment are that Asian directors choose exemplary Western films, while Western directors must select an Asian film. The line-up for this year is as follows: 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968, Stanley Kubrick) – selected by Shekar Kapur Kind Hearts And Coronets (1949, Robert Hamer) – selected by Pen-Ek Ratanaruang The Silence of The Lambs (1991, Jonathan Demme) – selected by Im Sang-soo One Nite In Mongkok (2004, Derek Yee) – selected by Ivan Sen Mad Detective (2007, Johnnie To & Wai Ka-fai) — selected by Guillermo Del Toro Rashomon (1950, Akira Kurosawa) – selected by Martin Koolhoven All directors will present their chosen titles in person at the festival except for Guillermo Del Toro, who will introduce “Mad Detective” via a pre-recorded video message.
Q What is the In Focus tribute and who is featured this year?
A Malaysian Chinese actress Michelle Yeoh is the subject of this year’s In Focus tribute, with a special screening of 2010 hit “Reign of Assassins”. Yeoh will also take part in an “In Conversation” event on December 14, where she will share insights into a career that has spanned more than 30 years. Yeoh is one of the few Asian stars to successfully cross over to Hollywood, with roles in worldwide hits like “Tomorrow Never Dies”, “Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2”, “Memoirs Of A Geisha”, “Mechanic: Resurrection” and “The Mummy: Tomb Of The Dragon Emperor”. She was most recently seen in television series “Star Trek: Discovery”. Closer to home, she has been a part of illustrious regional projects such as “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” and “Reign Of Assassins”.
Q What is the IFFAM Masterclass and who will host this year?
A The Masterclasses feature industry leaders sharing their experiences and skills for the benefit of aspiring filmmakers and members of the public. This year’s sessions are hosted by John Woo and Pang Ho-Cheung. John Woo started out as an assistant director at Shaw Brothers in the 1970s. He then worked as a director at Golden Harvest before gaining fame when “A Better Tomorrow” was released in 1986 to commercial and critical acclaim. Woo subsequently directed several popular gangster films and broke into Hollywood in the 1990s with “Face/Off” and “Mission: Impossible 2”. He returned to Chinese cinema a decade ago with “Red Cliff” and “The Crossing”. His latest film, “Manhunt”, is set in Japan. Hong Kong filmmaker Pang Ho-Cheung is a screenwriter and producer who has directed several award-winning feature films such as “Men Suddenly in Black”, “Isabella”, “Dream Home”, “Vulgaria” and “You Shoot, I Shoot”. His 2010 hit “Love in a Puff” – which starred IFFAM ambassador Miriam Yeung – kick-started a successful trilogy, the final instalment of which was released in 2017.
Q Are there any other competitions or supplementary programmes surrounding the event?
A Following the success of last year’s collaboration with the British Film Institute (BFI), this year’s IFFAM will once again offer a professional workshop for budding Macau filmmakers, who will have the chance to exchange perspectives with their European counterparts. Twenty-four aspiring industry professionals will collaborate on the production of two short films over nine days. They will be assigned specific roles based on their skills and experience, guided by members of the BFI. Both films will be screened at IFFAM.
Q How does Local View Power fit into the IFFAM program?
A Organized by the Macao Cultural Centre, the annual Local View Power programme has supported more than 90 outstanding local productions in the last decade. The second IFFAM marks the first time that “Local View Power”-backed movies will be included. Local View Power is intended to inspire promising local filmmakers to pursue their creative dreams and propel the industry forward. Participants can compete in the “Documentary”, “Short Feature” and “Animation” categories, and submissions are assessed by a three-person panel.
THIS SUPPLEMENT IS SPONSORED BY MGTO