The International Film Festival & Awards • Macao (IFFAM) is delighted to announce that Yao Chen will be this year’s Actress IN FOCUS at the 3rd edition of the Festival, taking place in Macao from December 8-14.
“Yao Chen is a superb actress whose work on and off screen is inspiring. We are so proud to welcome this radiant star to Macao as our IN FOCUS subject this year and showcase a handful of her films which show her versatility and range,” said artistic director Mike Goodridge.
As part of the IN FOCUS tribute the Festival will screen three films starring the influential Chinese actress and philanthropist. She will also speak about her impressive career and humanitarian work in a special “In Conversation” event with legendary Hong Kong producer and IFFAM International Advisor Nansun Shi on 10 December.
The three films starring Yao Chen within the IFFAM programme are as follows:
· LOST, FOUND (2018, Lü Yue)
· CAUGHT IN THE WEB (2012, Chen Kaige (IFFAM Competition Jury President))
· JOURNEY TO THE WEST: THE DEMONS STRIKE BACK (2017, Tsui Hark)
These three films are only a small selection from Yao Chen’s extensive credits which span TV and film including her first TV credit My Own Swordsman, films Love In Cosmo, Color Me Love, Control, and Firestorm, and the soon to air All Is Well, expected on Chinese TV screens in 2019.
Previous Actresses IN FOCUS at the IFFAM include Gwei Lun-Mai and Michelle Yeoh, in 2016 and 2017 respectively.
IFFAM Programme Highlights
The three films starring Yao Chen and the In Conversation event join a Festival programme bringing the best Eastern and Western cinema to the local Macao audience. The full programme will be announced on November 8 and comprises the following strands:
· Competition – An international competition comprising a maximum of twelve feature films which is a showcase for first and second time film-makers with 60,000 USD as the award winning prize.
· Gala – mainstream crowd pleasing films will be presented, comprising a maximum of six films.
· New Chinese Cinema – A new competitive section of outstanding films from Chinese speaking territories.
· Flying Daggers – A non-competitive selection of international genre films.
· Best of Fest Panorama –A non-competitive selection of films from other major international film festivals of the year.
· Director’s Choice (Retrospective) – A non-competitive selection of six classic genre films, selected by six well-known directors; three films from Asia selected by non-Asian directors and three films from the world outside Asia selected by Asian directors.
· In Focus (Retrospective) – A celebration of one or two specific outstanding talents to be invited among directors, actors, actresses, writers, directors of photography, production designers, producers, composers, editors etc with screenings of their films and on-stage interviews. This year’s Actress IN FOCUS is Yao Chen.
· Special Presentations – Screenings of films at the discretion of the Artistic director and jury president related to special guest attendance and lifetime achievement honorees.
· For All The Family – Films which will appeal to a wide family audience.
The IFFAM Industry Hub will also be held during the event between 9 and 11 December.
Actress IN FOCUS Yao Chen
Yao Chen is one of the most celebrated and influential Chinese actors working today.
She studied dance at the Beijing Dancing Academy from 1993 to 1997 and then entered the Performance Institute of Beijing Film Academy in 1999.
In 2006, she became a household actress for her role as Guo Furong in the ancient-set sitcom My Own Swordsman, and later played the leading roles in a number of drama series, including spy drama Lurk (2009) and the urban drama Divorce Lawyers (2014). Yao Chen’s latest TV drama work All is Well is a realistic family drama series, which is to be aired in China in 2019.
Yao Chen has played a major role in many films in recent years, including Love In Cosmo (2010), Color Me Love (2010), If You Are The One II (2010), Caught in the Web (2012), Control (2013), Firestorm (2013), Chronicles of the Ghostly Tribe(2015), Miss Partners (2016) and Journey to the West: The Demons Strike Back(2017), which have garnered her much attention and acclaim.
In 2017, Yao Chen founded Bad Rabbit Pictures with her husband Cao Yu, a well-known photographer. The female-led thriller/drama Lost, Found (2018) releasing this year is the first film that Bad Rabbit Pictures has co-produced. In the film, Yao Chen plays a mother trying to find her kidnapped daughter; the actor has been praised for her precise and layered acting. She also played the leading role in another female-led feature film Send Me To The Clouds (2018), which is produced by Bad Rabbit Pictures and now in post-production.
For years, Yao Chen has participated in earnest in charity work both at home and abroad. In China, she has supported a number of social initiatives, and she was appointed “UNHCR National Goodwill Ambassador for China” by The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in the field of International Humanitarian Affairs.
Owing to her achievements and influence in both her acting career and humanitarian work, she was named one of The 100 Most Influential People by Time Magazine in 2014, one of the world’s 30 Most Influential People on the Internet by Time in 2015 and The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women by Forbes in 2014 and 2015. She also received the 2016 Crystal Award from the World Economic Forum; Yao Chen is the first Chinese woman to receive the award.
IN FOCUS Moderator and IFFAM International Advisor Nansun Shi
Nansun Shi is the Hong Kong producer of such blockbusters as The Flying Swords of Dragon Gate (2011), Young Detective Dee: Rise of The Sea Dragon (2013) and The Taking of Tiger Mountain (2014). She was pivotal in the success of Cinema City and Film Workshop, which she founded with internationally-acclaimed producer/director Tsui Hark.
Nansun Shi was a member of the international jury at the Berlin Film Festival in 2007 and at the Cannes Film Festival in 2011. In 2013, the French Government honoured her with the title of Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. In August, 2014, the 67th Locarno Film Festival honoured Shi with the Premio Raimondo Rezzonico for Best Independent Producer. Most recently, in 2015, the 17th Udine Far East Film Festival honoured her with the Golden Mulberry Life Achievement Award while the 20th Busan International Film Festival honoured her with the Marie Claire Asia Star Awards’ Special Achievement Award.
International Professional Team
The International Professional Team for IFFAM includes Artistic Director, Head of Festival Management, Ambassadors, International Advisory Board, Head of Industry as well as Programming Consultants. Mike Goodridge and Lorna Tee are Artistic Director and Head of Festival Management respectively.
The team of International Consultants in charge of film selection include Giovanna Fulvi for Mainland China, Hong Kong and the Taiwan Region; Violeta Bava for Latin America, Spain and Portugal; Fionnuala Halligan for Europe, Russia, Israel and Australia/New Zealand and Hiromi Aihara for Japan; Maxine Leonard will be the consultant for US-related affairs; June Wu will also return as the Head of Industry.
Indian film critic and Mumbai Film Festival’s director Anupama Chopra and eminent producer Peter Loehr have joined the International Advisory Board which also includes veteran Asia-Pacific based producer Michael J. Werner; Korean producer Oh Jung-wan; Hong Kong producer and distribution expert Nansun Shi, renowned producer Luís Urbano, producer and current chairman of the Producers’ Committee at UniFrance Philippe Carcassonne and producer, movie critic and publisher San Mu.