At around the end of 2014, a series of film industry events were held in Macau, including: the first ever Macau Film Week, also the first edition of Guangdong Film Week at Macau and the 6th Macau International Movie Festival (MTM).
President XI Jinping, at his recent visit to Macau, once again spoke of Macau's need to moderately make a variety of development aside from sustaining and strengthening its gaming industry. In other words, Macau cannot rely solely on its casino-entertainment industry. This may be the reason why Macau's film industry has appeared more dynamic lately. Featuring locally-produced films, Macau Film Week is an event to note, especially when it is the very first time that many Macau film productions are gathered and introduced to the public. Industry players from Mainland China and Hong Kong are invited to join the event and attend the concurring Macau Film Forum.
The first edition of the Macau Film Week presented 5 feature films and 7 short films during 18 - 23 December 2014. The event featured screening of one (or a set of) selected film(s) every evening at 7:30 at the historic Cinema Alegria Macau. Clearly the selected films are past productions of Macau as the film industry in the city is only at its start. It is almost impossible to have several feature films produced a in just a year's time. However, some Macau productions were not included in the event due to some other reasons. Feature films screened are The Bewitching Braid (1995), Love in Macau (2006), Before Dawn Cracks (2007), Macau Stories 2: Love in the City (2011) and diago (2009). Aim vs Peep (2002), Love is Not Sin (2002), Macau Stories (2008), One Week Away (2009), The Memories (2009), Chosen, Wish, Charm, Identity (2012) are those that were not screened. 11 films were produced in 20 years' time, which in a way filled the emptiness in the history of the Macau film industry.
Probably very few Hong Kong people have watched a Macau film as they are very rarely screened in Hong Kong cinemas. The Bewitching Braid, which tells a love story of a Macau young lady and a Portuguesa young man, was the only film that had been screened in Hong Kong, however resulted in poor response and box office. Besides, Hong Kong filmmakers are less involved in Macau's film production. Alex FONG was probably the only Hong Kong actor starring in a Macau film, playing the leading role in Love in Macau.
It is true that Macau's film industry is only at its start and it is hard to draw attention. These films have so much room for improvement in script-writing, directing, acting, as well as its production standard. Even though the Macau government has introduced the Support Programme for the Production of Feature Films, the programme contributes only MOP 6,000,000 a year to support 4 approved projects (a maximum amount of financial support at MOP 1,500,000 for each project). For a feature film of at least 80 minutes in length, such amount can barely cover the production cost. That is why director CAI Anan, director of One Week Away, had his house mortgaged to the bank for a loan to finish the production. Such industry environment has made it very hard for Macau filmmakers to make movies. Surprisingly, Aim vs Peep, a 114 minute feature film, cost only around MOP 30,000 from scratch to finish!
And of course, it is best if more resources and support are given in the process of Macau Government pushing for more variety of development. Then there will be more growth possibilities for the local film industry. Besides, local filmmakers should open their minds and not insisting that a Macau film must have a full team of "local and local only" production crew, actors and actresses. If they can open up and even invites industry talents from Hong Kong, Macau will certainly benefit from Hong Kong's many years of experience in film making, and hope for a more prosperous Macau film industry and more great Macau productions.