Paddington 2, which had its world premiere in London Sunday, will open the 2nd International Film Festival & Awards – Macau (IFFAM) on December 8, the organisers announced at a press conference on Friday.
Paddington 2 is a live-action-cum-computer-generated imagery (CGI) animated adventure comedy film directed by British writer-cum-director Paul King.
According to British media reports, the film is based on the stories of the character Paddington Bear created by the late British author Michael Bond, who died earlier this year. It is the sequel to the 2014 film Paddington.
According to a statement by the organisers of the local festival, “on the night of the opening ceremony (on November 8), family movie Paddington 2 will be shown as the opening film, starring famous English actor Hugh Grant in this sequel of the widely acclaimed movie Paddington (2014), based on the well-loved character in the United Kingdom – Paddington.”
British ex-journalist Mike Goodridge, the festival’s artistic director, acknowledged during Friday’s press conference at the Macau Science Centre in Nape that Paddington 2 wasn’t the most obvious choice to open an international film festival. However, he was quick to add that Paddington 2 was a very beautiful film that was perfect for the whole family. He also said he expected Paddington 2 to become a “crowd-pleasing opening night film”.
Goodridge is a former editor (2009-12) of London-based film magazine Screen International.
The organisers’ statement said that Paddington 2 as the opening film would “offer a good laugh”.
The festival will be staged from December 8-14. Macau Government Tourism Office (MGTO) Director Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes heads the festival’s organising committee. US-Chinese director John Woo, who attended Friday’s press conference, has been appointed “festival ambassador”.
Speaking to the Macau television (TDM) Fernandes said the festival will cost around 75 million patacas (US$ 9.4 million) with a MGTO contribution of 20 million patacas.
Hong Kong action star Donnie Yen and South Korean actor-cum-singer D.O., US actor Jeremy Lee Renner and Hong Kong actress-cum-singer Miriam Yeung will be the festival’s “talent ambassadors”.
Senna Fernandes told the press conference that “IFFAM is such a young and vibrant film festival brimming with new possibilities and potentials to tap into. With our theme of this year – ‘A new avenue for the world of films’, we aspire to tailor a high-quality programme fuelled by fresh new elements to fascinate our audience, as we strive for the vision to forge IFFAM into a prestigious brand in the world”.
According to the press conference, this year’s international jury will include Chinese-American actress, film director, producer and screen writer Joan Chen.
The jury will select winners from Best Film, Jury Prize, Best Director, Best Actor Award, Best Actress Award, Award for Best New Young Actor or Actress, Award for Best Screenplay, Award for Best Technical Contribution and other award from the 10 films in the Competition section, such as ‘Wrath of Silence’ (China), ‘The Cakemaker’ (Israel/Germany) and ‘Custody’ (France).
More than 40 films will be shown during the seven-day festival.
In line with the recent designation of Macau as UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy, the organising committee selected two culinary-themed films to be shown during the festival: ‘The Last Recipe’ and ‘The Cakemaker’.
According to the press conference, the organising committee will invite over 250 industry professionals from over 20 countries and regions in addition to 165 media from 36 countries and regions to participate in the IFFAM Industry Hub “platform” at Macau Cultural Centre to exchange views and explore business opportunities on the sidelines of the festival.
The festival films will be shown at Macau Cultural Centre, Macau Tower and Passion Cinematheque.
Tickets will be on sale from Wednesday. Detailed information on the festival is available on http://iffamacao.com/en/.