A carnival in Macau

Tropical Malady

Tropical Malady  

Veteran festival programmer and film producer Marco Mueller wants to make Macau more than just a casino haven

For most of us, Macao is best known as a casino haven, or Hong Kong’s Portuguese cousin, or for aficionados of the cinema farces of the region, the setting for the From Vegas to Macau series of films. Cinema buffs in Macau and those willing to stump up the airfare will thrill to the fact that veteran festival programmer and producer Marco Mueller is bringing his considerable experience and expertise there. For those who came in late, Mueller started working as a festival programmer in 1978 and was the consultant for Asian cinema at the Venice Film Festival from 1981 to 1995. His first job as festival director was at Electric Shadows in Turin, 1981, at the time, the largest retrospective of Chinese cinema to have been organised in the West. Subsequently, he was director of the festivals of Pesaro (1982-1989), Rotterdam (1989-1991) and Locarno (1992-2000). From 2004 to 2011, he was the director of the Venice Film Festival, before serving the same role at Rome Film Festival from 2012 to 2014. In 2015, he served as general advisor to the Beijing International Film Festival and as the director of programming to the Fuzhou Silk Road Film Festival.

In his parallel career as a film producer, he has produced and co-produced 14 features, which include Danis Tanovic’s No Man’s Land (2001), the film that beat Lagaan to the Foreign Language Oscar and Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s Tropical Malady (2004). Mueller is now the Director of the first International Film Festival and Awards, Macao, which will unspool from December 8 to 13. He has gathered together a heavyweight team of management and advisers. They include festival circuit veteran and producer Lorna Tee ( Rain Dogs, 2006), noted producers Jianxin Huang ( Bodyguards and Assassins, 2009), Oh Jung-wan ( A Tale of Two Sisters, 2003), James Schamus ( Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, 2000), Nansun Shi ( In the Room, 2015) and Luís Urbano ( Tabu, 2012), Olivier Père, currently Executive Director at ARTE France Cinema and former Artistic Director of Cannes Directors’ Fortnight and the Locarno Film Festival, and film sales veteran Michael J. Werner of Fortissimo Film Sales.

Mueller says about his team, “I am especially happy to be reunited one more time with the team who have contributed so much to the invention of a diverse and compelling programme for the Venice and Rome festivals, and who have helped in bringing so many world and international premieres to Beijing and Fuzhou.”

The festival’s strands look alluring, comprising Competition — 10 to 12 new international films to be judged by a jury of five film professionals; Out of Competition / Gala — a selection of six of the most important works from the latter half of the year; Hidden Dragons — six films representing the latest trends in contemporary Asian genre cinema; Best of Fest Panorama — five or six award-winning feature films from major international festivals; and Crossfire — 12 non-East Asian, non-US genre films selected by a dozen major East Asian film directors.

The international festival circuit normally draws to a close with Singapore in early December, but even at the risk of festival fatigue, Macau will be a welcome hop from there to sample the wares selected by Mueller and his team.

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Printable version | Feb 29, 2020 7:38:27 AM |

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