Award-winning actress Carina Lau urged governments in Macau and Hong Kong to offer more support to young filmmakers to help them realize their dreams.

“Whether it is funding or quickened approval for license applications, the governments in Macau and Hong Kong should offer more support for young filmmakers. They need opportunities, and this is the best way to help them,” Lau, who is the talent ambassador for this year’s 4th edition of International Film Festival and Awards Macao (IFFAM), said earlier during the announcement of the festival’s program.

“There are always a lot of obstacles and challenges ahead, but I hope young filmmakers can keep their passion alive and always remember why they entered this business in the first place.”

Besides speaking up for young filmmakers, Lau also presented two films she has previously appeared in —the newly restored version of auteur Hou Hsiao-hsien’s “Flowers of Shanghai” and the recently released drama “A City Called Macao” directed by Li Shaohong.

Set in 1880s Shanghai, during the late Qing Dynasty period, “Flowers of Shanghai” tells the stories of characters leading a life of decadence at upscale brothels, where well-trained, elegant courtesans try to find their way out by pursuing wealthy patrons. Lau plays one of the courtesans in this acclaimed film, which also stars her now-husband Tony Leung Chiu-wai.

Li Shaohong’s “A City Called Macau”, on the other hand, is a drama about a casino broker (played by Bai Baihe) who falls for an artist-turned-gambling addict. Lau plays the role of a casino boss and a benefactor of the casino broker. The film is set against the backdrop of the city known as “Asia’s Las Vegas” between the early 2000s and 2014 when China’s anti-corruption campaign began to dent the fast-growing gambling business.

“The film is set in Macau and against the backdrop of the city. It shows the audience not only the night view and the cityscape, but also a lot of characteristics of the city,” said the star.

A regular at international film festivals, Lau said she has always enjoyed exchanging with filmmakers around the world to discuss the latest global trends and events from different perspectives.

“Films are reflections of our society and the best form of art to explore humanity,” she said.