‘Give Me Liberty,’ ‘Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains’ Win Top Prizes in Macao

A still from ‘Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains’

American comedy film Give Me Liberty and Chinese family drama Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains won the Best Film prizes in the “International Competition” and “New Chinese Cinema” sections at the 4th edition of International Film Festival and Awards Macao (IFFAM).

With a mission of being “a meeting place for Asian and western filmmakers,” the six-day film festival screened 50 films and 6 short films this year, including 10 feature films from first or second-time filmmakers in its international competition category and 7 film entries of the Chinese cinema section. All winners were unveiled at the awards ceremony on Tuesday, December 10.

‘Give Me Liberty’ writer/producer Alice Austen and director Kirill Mikhanovsky

The top title Give Me Liberty is the second feature of writer-director Kirill Mikhanovsky. Inspired by Mikhanovsky’s own experience as a medical transport driver, the film also made it into the Sundance Film Festival and Cannes Directors’ Fortnight.

In the international competition, Lynn + Lucy won Best Director for the UK-based helmer Fyzal Boulifa as well as Best Actress for Roxanne Scrimshaw. Best Actor prize went to first-time actor Sarm Heng for his 14-year-old role in Buoyancy, which also won the Macao Audience Choice Award. Best Screenplay was awarded by Hamish Bennett for New Zealand’s film Bellbird.

Chinese Actress Zhou Dongyu, who won the best actress prize at IFFAM’s “New Chinese Cinema” section for her role in ‘Better Days.’

New Chinese Cinema – The Best Film winner of the section, Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains, is the directorial debut of Gu Xiaogang. The Chinese traditional landscape painting-inspired film was set as the closing film at Cannes Critics’ Week. Singaporean filmmaker Anthony Chen grabbed the Best Director award for his second feature, Wet Season. The film also won the Cinephilia Critics’ Award, a Chinese version of the FIPRESCI Prize for Chinese-language cinema. Zhou Dongyu took home the Best Actress for her role in the box office hit Better Days, while Best Actor went to Wu Xiaoliang for Wisdom Tooth, directed by Liang Ming. Chinese-Canadian filmmaker Johnny Ma won the Best Screenplay and the NETPAC Award with his To Live to Sing.

The Asian Blockbuster Film 2019 went to the Bong Joon Ho’s Parasite. The award was presented by IFFAM Talent Ambassador Juliette Binoche. Her latest film The Truth, directed by acclaimed Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda, also screened at IFFAM as a part of the “Special Presentations” section.

Taika Waititi’s Jojo Rabbit opened the 2019 IFFAM. According to the Chinese film site dianyingjie, it will also be released in theatres in mainland China. Aaron Kwok-starring feature I’m Livin’ It, directed by Hong Kong helmer Wong Hing-Fan , closed the festival.


A complete list of winners:

International Competition:

Best Film: “Give Me Liberty”, by Kirill Mikhanovsky

Best Director: FyzalBoulifa, “Lynn + Lucy”

Best Actress: Roxanna Scrimshaw, “Lynn + Lucy”

Best Actor: Sarm Heng, “Buoyancy”

Best Screenplay: Hamish Bennett, “Bellbird”

Macao Audience Choice Award: “Buoyancy” by Rodd Rathjen


New Chinese Cinema:

Best Film: “Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains” by Gu Xiaogang

Best Director: Anthony Chen, “Wet Season”

Best Actress: Zhou Dong Yu, “Better Days”

Best Actor: Wu Xiao Liang, “Wisdom Tooth”

Best Screenplay: Johnny Ma, “To Live to Sing”


New Highlight – Shorts Competition

Best Short Film: “Lonely Encounter” by Jenny Wan


Asian Blockbuster Film 2019: “Parasite”

NETPAC Award: “To Live to Sing” by Johnny Ma

“Spirit of Cinema” Achievement Award: Li Shao Hong

Variety Asian Stars: Up Next Award:

Asmara Abigail (Indonesia), Bea Alonzo (Philippines), BhumiPednekar (India), JennisOpraset and PraewaSuthampon (Thailand), LiênBinhPhát (Vietnam), Lim Yoona (Korea), RyotaKatayose (Japan)

Cinephilia Critics’ Award: “Wet Season” by Anthony Chen

Cinephilia Critics’ Award for Best Macau Film: “Years of Macao, by Tou Kim Hong, Penny Lam, Albert Chu, Emily Chan, Peeko Wong, Chao Koi Wang, Maxim Bessmertny, Ao Leong Weng Fong and António Caetano de Faria


IFFAM Project Market Awards Ceremony Winners

Best Project Award: “Dear Wormwood” by Dodo Dayao

Creative Excellence Award: “The day and night of Brahma” by Sheetal Magan

Best Co-production Award: “Drum wave” by Natalie Erika James

Macao Spirit Award: “Uk Kei” by Leonor Teles

Honourable Mention: “Nocebo”