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‘Hunting Season’ Takes Top Prize at Macao Festival

“Hunting Season,” by Argentinian first-time feature director Natalia Garagiola was named as best film at the International Film Festival and Awards Macao. France’s Xavier Legrand was named best director for domestic terrorism thriller “Custody.”

Prizes were handed out Thursday evening at Macau’s Cultural Centre, in front of a crowd that mixed local dignitaries, Hong Kong movie folk and a high-profile international contingent of film makers, industry executives, and festival programmers.

The prizes were decided on by a jury headed by France’s Laurent Cantet. The judging panel also included actress Joan Chen, writer-director Joan Chen, novelist Lawrence Osborne, and director Royston Tan.

The jury chose “Hunting Season” for its “fluid style and construction… the precision of its directing .. and for the quality of its acting,” Cantet said. “The film deals with subjects both difficult and delicate : mourning for a mother’s death, the reconciliation between estranged fathers and sons, the loneliness of young men.”

“I don’ want to say the F-word. But this is really amazing,” said Garagiola after receiving her prize.

Iconic German actor, Udo Kier was also on hand to receive a previously announced career achievement award. “My heart is with the independent film industry,” said Pier from the stage. “This festival so full of young energy.”

The closing ceremony also saw Variety and the IFFAM collaborate to put the spotlight on eight Asian acting talents who have the potential to become regional and global stars. They included Shioli Kutsuna (“Oh Lucy”), Ludi Lin (“Monster Hunt”), Chutimon Cheungcharoensukying (“Bad Genius”), Piolo Pascual (“Silong”), Celina Jade (“Wolf Warriors II”), Ahn Seo-hyun (“Okja”) and Rajkummar Rao (“Newton”).

Other visitors included Michelle Yeoh, Donnie Yen, Charles Heung, Yuki Kito, Yu Dong, Bonnie Voland, Wilfred Wong, Kim Dong-ho, and Andrew Ooi.

The second running of the IFFAM played out Dec. 8-14.

IFFAM Jury Prizes
Best Film: “Hunting Seasons” dir. Natalia Garagiola.
Best director: Xavier Legrand.
Best actress: Jessie Buckley in “Beast”
Best actor: Song Yang in “Wrath of Silence”
Best new young actor: Tomas Gioria in “Custody”
Jury prize: “Wrath of Silence”
Best screenplay: Samuel Moaz for “Foxtrot”
Best technical contribution: Benjamin Kracun for “Beast”

Other prizes
NETPAC Award: “Angels Wear White” dir. Vivian Qu
Macao audience award: “Borg McEnroe” dir. Janus Metz.

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