Marco Mueller to Head New Festival in Macau

Marco Mueller and Elvis Mitchell are expected to be among the international names fronting a major new film festival in Macau.

The Special Administrative Region of China is a former Portuguese colony which returned to Chinese rule in 1999 and has rapidly grown to become the world’s casino capital.

The International Film Festival Macao is to hold its first edition December 8-14 this year. It will be operated with the backing of the Macau government’s bureau for film, part of its Social Affairs and Culture department. A formal announcement is expected in mid-March.

The festival will largely be housed at the Macao Science Center, with market screenings likely taking place at the MCL multiplex complex located within the Galaxy Macau Resort.

Mueller, who was previously director at the Locarno, Venice and Rome festivals, is poised to be announced as festival director. Mitchell, the noted critic and programmer, is to be its U.S. selector.

For its first edition, the festival will be capped at 45 titles, and include galas, a competition and a thematic sidebar. Commercial and genre films from around the world are expected to feature prominently.

Popular on Variety

The December dates are intended to allow executives to make an easy transition from the CineAsia convention and trade show in neighboring Hong Kong (Dec. 6-8, 2016) to the new Macau event.

The festival will operate on a budget of some US$10 million, substantial enough for organizers to provide full hospitality to film delegations and to key media from the Asian region. The majority of the finance is to come from the Macanese government, with a commercial sponsorship picking up the rest of the tab.

Mueller, who has recently also been associated with both the Beijing and Silk Road festivals in China, will make the IFF Macao his main job, but also with a one semester per year teaching role in Switzerland. His recent film selecting roles at the Beijing and Silk Road festivals in China are understood to have come to an end following government restrictions on competitive events on the mainland.

Macau, which has its own jurisdiction, currency and legal system, may offer an environment that is somewhat more liberal than China proper.

The territory is keen to develop industries other than gambling and to put on a more family-friendly, entertainment driven face.

Among the other measures being considered to develop the movie industry are the establishment of a film commission and a financial incentives system.

The SAR has been the setting for movies including Johnnie To’s “Exiled,” and “Vengeance” and Pang Ho-Cheung’s “Isabella” and the Pang-scripted “SDU: Sex Duties Unit.” Parts of “Skyfall” and “Johnnie English Reborn” were also shot there.

More Film

  • Benh Zeitlin Wendy Movie BTS

    Benh Zeitlin Goes Old-School With Stunts and Puppets for His Peter Pan Film 'Wendy'

    It has taken eight years for Benh Zeitlin to deliver the follow-up to his Oscar-nominated 2012 feature debut “Beasts of the Southern Wild.” But you could say the idea for “Wendy,” which reimagines the classic “Peter Pan” from the viewpoint of his female friend (played by first-time actor Devin France), has been percolating far longer [...]

  • 'A Quiet Place 2' Still Emily

    Box Office: 'A Quiet Place 2' Tracking $55 Million-Plus Debut

    John Krasinski’s follow-up to “A Quiet Place” is expected to make plenty of noise at the box office when it releases in theaters on March 20. The sequel, “A Quiet Place Part II,” is on track to earn $55 million during opening weekend, according to early estimates. If the horror film is able to capture [...]

  • The Invisible Man Movie

    How 'The Invisible' Man Reinvents the Monster Movie for a New Audience

    In 2018, director Leigh Whannell met with Universal Pictures executives, thinking that they wanted to talk about another project. Instead, they brought up a surprising idea, to reinvent H.G. Wells’ “The Invisible Man” as a stand-alone thriller targeted to a new generation.  The studio had just endured a dismal start to the reboot of its monster [...]

  • Candyman

    Jordan Peele's 'Candyman' Gets Gory First Trailer

    Jordan Peele is back with another terrifying thriller, this time taking on the 1992 horror classic “Candyman.” The official trailer for MGM and Universal Pictures’ remake was released on Thursday and tells the story of an artist fixated on a mysterious hook-handed killer, deemed the Candyman. “The urban legend is, if you say his name [...]

  • The Good Doctor

    From 'Masked Singer' to 'The Good Doctor,' Korean Formats Take Hold on U.S. Screens

    Accepting his award for original screenplay at this year’s Oscars, director Bong Joon Ho triumphantly declared,  “This is a very first Oscar to South Korea.” Little did he know that the second, third and fourth were swiftly coming his way on a night that saw “Parasite” make history. Combine that with the fact that two [...]

  • Karena Evans

    Tinder Renews Original Series 'Swipe Night,' Director Karena Evans to Return (EXCLUSIVE)

    Tinder is having more than just a fling with its first ever original series, “Swipe Night.” The ubiquitous dating app has renewed the interactive scripted project for a second season, and it has tapped season one director Karena Evans (Drake’s “In My Feelings,” Starz’s “P Valley”) to helm the project. App users can expect it [...]

  • Modo Avião

    Netflix’s ‘Airplane Mode’ Sets New Non-English Language Feature Record

    RIO DE JANEIRO  Cesar Rodrigues’ “Airplane Mode” is the most popular non-English language feature on Netflix so far in the world, Netflix disclosed exclusively to Variety on Thursday Feb. 27. The first Netflix original feature production in Brazil, released on Jan. 23, has been watched by nearly 28 million households, of which one third are in Brazil [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content