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MACAO 2019 Macao Industry Hub / Awards

The Macao Industry Hub announces its winners


- Four projects in development that were presented at the Project Market shared the awards handed out in the industry section of the 4th International Film Festival & Awards Macao

The Macao Industry Hub announces its winners
The winners of, and team behind, the 2019 Macao Industry Hub

The Macao Industry Hub wrapped its latest edition with the IFFAM Project Market awards ceremony on Sunday 8 October. Unspooling for three days (6-8 December), the Industry Hub hinges on three main sections: the IFFAM Project Market (IPM), for projects in development; the IFFAM Work-in-Progress Presentation, with screenings of two films in post-production; and the Macao Forum, which this year dealt with the topics of the future of theatrical releases, the importance of female empowerment and the current threats to independent films.

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In the IPM, 14 projects were competing – nine genre titles, three auteur efforts and two projects hailing from Macao – with over 50% of them focusing on an Asian subject matter. It should be noted that four of the genre projects were selected by IPM’s international genre market partners, Blood Window (Argentina), FIRST Financing Forum (China), Frontières (Canada) and Sitges (Spain).

The jury, comprising Singaporean director and producer Eric Khoo, Berlinale European Film Market director Matthijs Wouter Knol, and Japanese producer and CEO of Kino International Shozo Ichiyama, selected the four winners, which were awarded cash prizes totalling $40,000 (€36,200).

The Best Project Award, for the project with “the most profound qualities in all aspects”, went to Dear Wormwood, the third feature by Filipino writer-director Dodo Dayao (Violator). Set in a country house up in the remote Philippine mountains, the blissfully quiet lives of the five women living in it are suddenly in great danger when a cataclysmic event causes time to behave malevolently, threatening to tear reality apart. The supernatural horror is being produced by Bianca Balbuena, Bradley Liew and Patti Lapus for Manila-based Epicmedia Productions, and is currently at an advanced stage of development.

The Creative Excellence Award went to The Day and Night of Brahma, the debut feature by South African filmmaker Sheetal Magan, whose shorts have been screened around the world. The film follows Gita and Sanj, who are going through their first pregnancy, a period that marks a descent into deeper questions of love and self-sacrifice as their relationship threatens to implode under social pressures, while Gita struggles with her mental health and the contradictions between their own secular and traditional views. The drama is being produced by Magan for indie outfit Atman Media Lab and is in development.

The Best Co-production Award was received by Drum Wave by Japanese-Australian writer-director Natalie Erika James, whose debut feature, Relic, is currently in post-production. When a young professional pianist travels with her fiancé to meet his extended family on a remote island, she confronts her fear of motherhood when she realises that the local community worships a fertility goddess through bizarre rituals. Budgeted at $8 million, the folk-horror is being produced by Anna McLeish and Sarah Shaw for Melbourne-based Carver Films and is now in first-draft development.

The final prize, the Macao Spirit Award, was bestowed upon Uk Kei, the feature-length fiction debut by Portuguese filmmaker Leonor Teles (Ashore [+see also:
film review
film profile
). The drama follows El, who leaves Lisbon behind and runs away to Macao, overwhelmed by her memories. There, she meets Kay, an encounter that destabilises her even further. El will be forced to confront her past in order to rebuild her present. Shot in Macao and Lisbon in colour and on 16 mm celluloid, the film is being produced by Filipa Reis for Lisbon-based independent company Uma Pedra no Sapato.

Finally, Nocebo, the sophomore project by Irish director Lorcan Finnegan (Vivarium [+see also:
film review
interview: Lorcan Finnegan
film profile
), was singled out for an Honourable Mention by the jury. The supernatural revenge thriller with strong socio-political themes follows Christine, a struggling fashion designer, whose live-in Filipino assistant Diana is invaluable to her. However, Diana’s past is connected to a sweatshop fire back in her homeland. Produced by Brunella Cocchiglia for Dublin-based Lovely Productions and Emily Leo, the $7 million project is now at the financing stage.

Here is the complete list of winners at the 2019 IFFAM Project Market:

Best Project Award
Dear Wormwood - Dodo Dayao (Philippines)
Producers: Bianca Balbuena, Bradley Liew, Patti Lapus (Epicmedia Production)

Creative Excellence Award
The Day and Night of Brahma - Sheetal Magan (South Africa)
Producer: Sheetal Magan (Atman Media Lab)

Best Co-production Award
Drum Wave - Natalie Erika James (Australia/Japan)
Producers: Anna McLeish, Sarah Shaw (Carver Films)

Macao Spirit Award
Uk Kei - Leonor Teles (Portugal)
Producer: Filipa Reis (Uma Pedra no Sapato)

Honourable Mention
Nocebo - Lorcan Finnegan (Ireland/UK/Philippines)
Producers: Brunella Cocchiglia (Lovely Productions), Emily Leo

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