Emiliano Torres’ The Winter [pictured] was named best film at the first edition of the International Film Festival and Awards Macao (IFFAM).

The Winter

Emiliano Torres’ The Winter [pictured] was named best film at the first edition of the International Film Festival and Awards Macao (IFFAM), while Saint George (Sao Jorge) won best director for Marco Martins and best actor for Nuno Lopes.

British film Trespass Against Us also received two awards, best actress for Lyndsey Marshal and a jury prize.

Jennifer Yu won best newcomer for Macanese director Tracy Choi’s debut feature Sisterhood, which also received the Macao Audience Choice Award.

Best screenplay went to UK director Ben Wheatley and Amy Jump for Free Fire, while Brazilian drama Elon Doesn’t Believe In Death received the best technical contribution award for its original music and sound design.

The new festival was co-organised by the Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO) and Macau Films & Television Productions and Culture Association (MFTPA).

“First time is always difficult. We understand that we’re very new, but we are serious about the festival,” Maria Helena de Senna Fernades told Screen. She is the director of MGTO and president of the IFFAM Organizing Committee.

“The hardware is in place such as hotels and cinemas. Yet we don’t have experienced people running the festival and there’s a lack of understanding of international cinema by the local audience. We’re honest about these points,” she says.

Fernandes’ comments follow festival director Marco Mueller’s shock resignation just weeks prior to the event.

The first edition had a budget of $7m, including $2.5m from MGTO. Fernandes assures that funding has been put aside for at least another two editions, following an earlier memorandum with MFTPA.

The red-carpet awards and closing ceremony was held at Macao Cultural Centre on Dec 13. International guests in attendance included Zhang Hanyu, Rhydian Vaughan, Gwei Lun Mei, Lisa Lu, Chin Han, Jon Chu as well as Hong Kong director Ann Hui and Spotlight director Tom McCarthy.

The jury comprised of Stanley Kwan, Giovanna Fulvi, Makiko Watanabe and jury president Shekkar Kapur. In addition to the above jury awards, the festival presented the following awards: Asian blockbuster film of 2016 to Train To Busan; MFTPA special award for contribution to Chinese film to Yu Dong, CEO of Bona Film Group; and career achievement award to acclaimed Chinese director Feng Xiaogang.

Meanwhile, the festival’s Crouching Tigers Project Lab (Dec 9-11) concluded earlier with four winning projects, each presented with $10,000 cash prize from Fox International Productions, Ivanhoe Pictures and Huace Pictures:

  • River Town, dir Lu Chuan, prod Jamie Gordon (China)
  • Inspector Lou, dir Djo Munga (Congo)
  • Pintakasi, dir Erik Matti, prod Ronald Monteverde (Philippines)
  • 270 San Ma Lo, Macau, dir/pro Joao Pedro Rodrigues & Joao Rui Guerra da Mata (Portugal)