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A prize ceremony attended by Hamaguchi Ryusuke (“Drive My Car”), Vinod Vidhu Chopra (“3 Idiots”), Amir Naderi and Yonfan on Thursday wrapped up the final event of the debut edition of the Festival of Young Cinema in Macau.

Following a week (Jan. 6-11) of industry-only screenings and presentations of 17 partly-completed films by emerging directors and producers from the region, the prizes went to four work-in-progress films from mainland China and one from Macau.

A jury consisting of producer Jeremy Chua, festival director Deepti DCunha, Chinese producer Wang Yang, Chinese screenwriter Wang Yixin and Hong Kong-based executive Esther Yeung determined the in-kind prizes (color correction, VFX, sound and marketing design) according to the needs of the productions.

“Macau is a very small place, but people here have a big heart,” said Weng Tingting, director of “Revisit,” the tale of a reluctant care-giver which earned a special mention. “I used all the money earned from previous pitching events to make this movie. Now, I promise to finish it.”

“I’m happy to have been the creator of this WIP lab. It was a very positive experience in that festival scouts came and each found four or five items that could interest them” said the festival’s artistic director Marco Mueller. “There was similar interest among sales agents who have already reached out to obtain screeners of the prize-winning films. And in terms of commercial interest [former Cannes Market chief] Jerome Paillard was the ideal matchmaker.”

Screenings were mostly held at the Emperor Cinemas multiplex in Macau’s Cotai district, with a portion of the work-in-progress screenings held over the border in China’s Zhuhai. The industry component also benefited from a partnership with the China Film Directors’ Guild and funding from its Production Support Scheme.

Audience building in a city with a small local population and a large proportion of guest workers is a task that should have taken several months – time that was not available to the newly hatched festival. As a consequence, audience numbers at screenings of the completed films available to the public varied greatly, from substantially empty to almost sold out for Yonfan’s “No.7 Cherry Lane” and for a quartet of titles by Japanese celebrity auteur Hamaguchi.

The series of master class presentations and on stage-dialogs was a strong point. Hamaguchi, Lav Diaz, Yonfan, Anurag Kashyap, Tsukamoto Shinya and Naderi commanded substantial attention, with a large proportion of the audience seeming to have crossed the border from mainland China. Other talk sessions with actors Huang Xiaoming and Isabelle Leong, and with director Lee Hong-chi were filled with an attentive mix of public and professionals.

“I believe that this model of a festival – whether you choose the films by generation or genre or whatever – can really become interesting when it is built as a mixture of films that already exist and films that have yet to be,” said Mueller.

Work-in-Progress Prizes at 2024 Festival of Young Cinema (Asia Europe)

In Between Prize (design services for posters and materials, two winners)
“I Am the Happiest Baby in the World,” Dir. Lee Hong-chi.
“Water Can Go Anywhere,” Dir. Fang Liang.

More VFX Prize
“The Wind is Unstoppable” Dir. Huo Meng.

Color Correction Prize
“The Fruit” Dir. Li Dongmei.

Sound Prize
“Stars and the Moon” Dir. Tong Yongkan.

Special Mention
“Revisit” Dir. Weng Tingting (Macau).

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