This is the festival’s third year of existence, and Mike Goodridge’s second edition as artistic director. So things should be approaching a degree of maturity now. Goodridge calls it an evolution.
What are the major programming lines of the 3rd edition of IFFAM?
We are launching the New Chinese Cinema section. The idea is simple, to be a bridge to such a fascinating industry. We are showing six new Chinese films that played this year. In fact, we have three from mainland China (“Baby,” “The Pluto Moment,” “Up The Mountain”,) two from Taiwan (“Xiao Mei,” “Dear-Ex”,) and one from Malaysia (“Fly By Night”).
A lot of Chinese independent film now is really good. It is bold, experimental and deserves more exposure. But it can still be hard to see Chinese films other than those which dominate the box office.
We also have Chinese films throughout the program. They include “Suburban Birds” in competition, “Lost, Found” as a special presentation, and “Caught in the Web,” from jury president Chen Kaige. It is still relevant. And we close with Zhang Yimou’s spectacular “Shadow.”
We have a slew of big films from elsewhere. These include opening film “The Green Book,” “Roma,” and “Mary Queen of Scots.”
How has the festival and your program changed?
It is an evolution. The new Chinese cinema section is part of that. But so too is trying to learn what gets our audience going. The classics section, where older, influential films are selected by invited directors, is clearly a hit.
Obviously, with just 54 films, we are a small festival compared with Tokyo or Busan. We are trying to find a unique place within our arena. It is smaller, easier to manage. And we have amazing guests. They range from Nicolas Cage, who will give a master class presentation, Chinese actress in focus Yao Chen, Korea’s Lim Yoon-a, and Aaron Kwok.
Why do you also set store by the festival’s talent development function?
“In the year of ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ there could hardly be anything more important than the Asian Stars Up Next talent awards presented by the IFFAM and Variety. What we are saying with these awards is: ‘you’ve liked the new stars from Asia that you’ve recently discovered, well Asia has a lot more talent, and here is the next wave’.”