This year’s International Film Festival & Awards Macao (IFFAM), with a line-up of stars such as two-time Oscar winner Nicolas Cage and one of the ‘Four Heavenly Kings’ Aaron Kwok Fu-shing from Hong Kong, will cost about 55 million patacas, Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO) Director Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes said on Thursday.
According to Senna Fernandes, the amount is about the same that the organisers spent on each of the two previous festivals.
Senna Fernandes, who is also president of the IFFAM Organising Committee, spoke to reporters after an IFFAM press conference at Macao Tower.
The 3rd IFFAM will take place from December 8-14, and “Green Book” directed by Peter Farrelly will be the opening film. About 50 films, some of which appear to be potential Oscar nominees, will be screened.
Cage, Kwok and rising star Lim Yoon A from South Korea are the festival’s “Talent Ambassadors”, where two-time Oscar winner Cage will host a masterclass on December 9. Cage did not attend the press conference.
The festival this year also added a “New Chinese Cinema” segment that pits six films against each other for the “Best New Chinese-language Film of the Year” award.
There will also be a presentation of 14 local films, as well as an “Industry Hub” that about 200 film industry professionals are expected to attend for networking or even movie pitching.
Senna Fernandes said that the budget this year was about 55 million patacas, of which 20 million patacas will be borne by the government, while the Macao Films & Television Productions and Culture Association (MFTPA), which is headed by Suncity Group Chairman Alvin Chau Cheok Wa, will pay the remaining 35 million patacas.
IFFAM Artistic Director Mike Goodridge, his second year at the festival, told reporters on Wednesday that the organisers have come up with a selection of films that are new and fresh.
“We really try to be up to the minute, brand new and fresh and bring the audiences the best that we can,” Goodridge said, “We got films like ‘Green Book’, ‘Roma’, ‘Mary Queen of Scots’ and ‘The Favourite’, which are really in the Oscar conversation this year.”
Last year, the festival screened “The Shape of Water” that went on to win Best Picture at the Academy Awards (Oscars), as well as “Call Me by Your Name” and “I, Tonya” that won too.
“I think if we play our cards right, we can do that every year and give Macao audiences a sneak preview on what’s going to win the awards,” Goodridge said.
Asked by local Portuguese reporters why there aren’t any Portuguese-language films such as from Brazil at the festival, Goodridge said that there weren’t any “amazing” films from Brazil that caught their eyes.
“We don’t just take anything because it comes from a particular country, we’re quite discerning in our programming,” he said, but was quick to add that there are three Spanish-language films in the selection, one from Argentina and two from Mexico.
One of the Spanish-language films playing at the festival is black-and-white film “Roma” by Mexican director Alfonso Cuarón that has just won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival in September.
“It’s assumed it’ll go all the way to the Academy Awards, who knows,” Goodridge said, on what he expects for the Oscars, adding that he also thinks “The Favourite”, which also won two awards at Venice, would get to the Oscars too.
A total of 11 films are running for competition in the festival, and Goodridge said that “The Man Who Feels No Pain” – a “bonkers action comedy” from India – and “School’s Out” – a sinister horror thriller from France – were not the traditional dramatic films at local cinemas but were, nevertheless, something to look out for.
Tickets for each film in the IFFAM programme cost 60 patacas and can be seen at the Macao Cultural Centre, Macao Tower and Cinematheque .Passion.
Tickets can be purchased from www.macauticket.com from today and from the three box offices during the festival.