Macau’s Asia-Europe Festival Of Young Cinema Unveils Screening, Masterclass & Works-in-Progress Line-up 

Ning Hao’s The Movie Emperor will screen as the opening film of Macau’s Asia-Europe Young Cinema Film Festival, which is holding its inaugural edition from January 5-11. Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s 12th Fail, recently a hit in India, will screen as the closing film. 

The event has two major sections – a programme of masterclasses and screenings aimed at young directors, film students and local audiences, and a Works-in-Progress (WiP) Lab, which will be attended by international sales agents, distributors and festival programmers. 

The masterclasses will be held by leading international filmmakers including several from the Chinese-speaking world – Ning Hao, Li Dongmei, Johnnie To, Yon Fan and Lee Hong-chi – along with Japanese filmmakers Ryosuke Hamaguchi and Shinya Tsukamoto, Russia’s Aleksey German Jr, Italy’s Gabriel Menetti, India’s Anurag Kashyap, Lav Diaz from the Philippines and Iranian filmmaker Amir Naderi. 

China Film Directors Association is actively involved in the event and will be bringing a group of young Chinese directors from its Green Onion Project for emerging talent. 

Marco Mueller, artistic director of the event, explained that it aims to build a bridge between young Chinese filmmakers and audiences and the international market. 

“I’ve always felt that for the work I’m doing – trying to connect filmmakers from Chinese-language territories with international filmmakers, festivals and sales agents – Macau is the only place that can really be regarded as the switch that can make all this happen,” Mueller explained to Deadline. “Festival programmers and sales agents are very happy to travel to Macau.” 

The screening programme is linked to the masterclasses and includes recent films as well as restored classics. Screenings will be held at Emperor Group’s new cinema at Lisboeta shopping mall in Macau’s Cotai district. 

Recent festival films screening at the event include Li Dongmei’s Mama, Lee Hong-chi’s Love Is A Gun, Wang Bing’s Youth, Yon Fan’s No 7 Cherry Lane, Kashyap’s Kennedy, Diaz’s Essential Truths Of The Lake and German’s Air.

Classics include Yon Fan’s Bugis Street (1995), Wang Bing’s Tiexi District: West Of The Tracks (2003) and Abbas Kiarostami’s The Experience (1973), co-scripted by Naderi, who is also presenting his earlier films Waiting, Harmonica and The Runner. 

Several of Hamaguchi’s films will be screened, including Passion (2008), Happy Hour (2015), Asako I & II (2018), Wheel Of Fortune And Fantasy (2021), Drive My Car (2021) and Evil Does Not Exist (2023). Screenings of Tsukamoto’s films include Fires On The Plain (2014), Killing (2018) and Shadow Of Fire (2023).

The event’s WiP Lab has selected 11 projects from mainland Chinese filmmakers and four Chinese-language international projects (see full list below), which will be presented to festival programmers and sales agents. Festivals that have confirmed attendance include Rotterdam, Berlin, Cannes, Tokyo and Busan, while sales agents include Loco Films, Edko Films, Fortissimo, Rediance and Parallax. 

The WiP Lab selections will be screened in Zhuhai, the city immediately across the mainland China border from Macau, from January 8-10, so that the unfinished films can be screened in full without needing to apply for an export permit. 

A jury of five film professionals will grant awards in post-production services to the winning films. The jury comprises producers Jeremy Chua and Wang Yang, scriptwriter Wang Yixin, production and sales executive Esther Yeung and Mumbai film festival artistic director Deepti Dcunha.

Mueller has described this year’s edition as a soft launch and wants to gauge the audience reception before potentially expanding the event: “Although I’ve been coming to Macau regularly over the past few years, even during the pandemic, it’s a place that is changing rapidly, so we’re in the process of learning how to cooperate with the new Macau and what kind of audiences will attend,” Mueller said.

“Based on the interest we’ve had on social media, we think it will be a mixture of local audiences and young, educated viewers from the mainland.”

The event is organized by the Organizing Committee of the Festival of Young Cinema (Asia-Europe) and the China Film Directors Association and its Green Onion Project, with Macao Zhengda Culture Communication Co and Xiamen Short Film Week as strategic partners. 

FESTIVAL OF YOUNG CINEMA (ASIA-EUROPE) WIP LAB:

MAINLAND PROJECTS:

The Wind Is Unstoppable, Director: HUO Meng

The Fruit, Director: LI Dongmei

Stars And The Moon, Director: TANG Yongkang

The Botanist In The White House, Director: JING Yi

I Am The Happiest Baby In The World, Director: LEE Hong-Chi

Man Without Woman, Director: CHANG Biao

Aroma Dream, Director: MA Xue

Water Can Go Anywhere, Dir: FANG Liang

Another Green World, Director: WANG Kejing

Twenty-Four Flavors, Director: Elaine HUANG

When The Bottle Turns, Director: LUO Dan

MACAU & INTERNATIONAL PROJECTS:

Revisit (Macao, China), Director: Huang Tingting

The Violin Case, (Macao, China), Director: Maxim Bessmertny

Chasing The Sun (France), Director: HUANG Ruosong

Birth (France), Director: Cici LI

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