Movie director, her documentary I’m Here won the Jury Award at the 2012 Macao International Film and Video Festival and was subsequently invited to various festivals in Asia and Europe. Choi received her MFA degree in Cinema Production from the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. Her graduation film Sometimes Naive was short-listed in the 2013 Hong Kong Asian Film Festival. The Farming on the Wasteland won the The Jury’s Commendation Award of the 2014 Macao International Film and Video Festival. Her latest production Sisterhood was selected in the competition section at the 1st International Film Festival & Awards‧Macao and won the Macao Audience Choice Award at the festival. In addition, Sisterhood got two nominations at the 36th Hong Kong Film Awards.
Last year we have had the 4th International Film Festival & Awards‧Macao in town. I have been personally involved in this event since the very first year and therefore I have some thoughts on this event that I want to share with everyone.
I participated in the 1st International Film Festival & Awards‧Macao for the screening of my first feature film Sisterhood. I was very nervous at that time because I was worried about my first work and I wasn’t very familiar with the event. I actually received an invitation from an overseas film festival for Sisterhood’s screening. But I eventually decided to do the screening in Macao since I wanted to launch my first film in my hometown and that it was the first international film festival in Macao. I thought it was quite a meaningful event. The overall experience was full of excitement as everything was very fresh to me at the first film festival. My work Sisterhood also received lots of media attention, which boosted investors and my confidence in the work. The film festival also continued to keep track of Sisterhood’s development and recommended the film to different international film festivals around the world, in an attempt to provide Sisterhood with a better platform to reach the international audience.
I was an observer at the 2nd International Film Festival in Macao, which allowed me to see things more clearly. Surely, there aren’t that many movie fans in Macao, which is indeed a disadvantage for the film festival. We have quite a number of quality movies but there are few viewers for them. This is definitely a harsh reality for filmmakers and film festivals. But it takes a long time to educate consumers to become movie viewers, especially viewers that will go to such non-profit film festivals. It is very difficult to achieve this within one or two years.
At the 3rd International Film Festival & Awards‧Macao, I had a new identity again. I was there for the roadshow market. The roadshow was organised to select over ten film projects from around the world, providing a platform for filmmakers to pitch their ideas. It invited curators of international film festivals and investors, in hopes of attracting investment for film projects with potential. The roadshow market has been organised since the 2nd International Film Festival & Awards‧Macao as the film festival wished to involve more filmmakers in Macao in the event. The roadshow market had been a very beneficial experience. There were experts who were invited by the film festival to provide us with suggestions in pitching techniques. Since the film projects were from different parts of the world, we were also given the opportunity to talk to directors and movie professionals from other places. It was a good chance for us to learn new possibilities on the international stage. More importantly, we were privileged to meet a number of investors with good potential to help make film projects take off.
Coming to 2019, at the 4th International Film Festival & Awards‧Macao, I returned with a new identity again. I attended the event as a producer of two local films: INA and the Blue Tiger Sauna and Years of Macao. The role of a producer was a new experience for me. When I am directing films, I have always been taken good care of. But I still had a lot of improvements to make given my performance as a producer this time. From my perspective, I believe it is best for directors to focus on creating the content while the producers should help with other matters as best they can. The two films did their first screening at the film festival. It wasn’t a simple task to pull off. But luckily, this year the film festival rolled out a special unit for Macao and the two films were selected. This helped gain international exposure for the directors and actors in Macao. When I was a director, I didn’t necessarily think about what would happen after finishing making a film. But as a producer, you would be motivated to help the film go further and have a better development. At the 4th International Film Festival & Awards‧Macao, I also got to meet filmmakers from different places, who had given us a variety of comments on the two films. I am hoping that we would be able to bring Macao’s films to other markets after we have learned from these opinions, helping local productions reach more people. We are now making firm steps towards that goal.
The International Film Festival & Awards‧Macao is like a new-born baby. There are still many things that the film festival is learning and trying. I am hoping that we will have grown into better filmmakers when we attend the film festival again in the coming year.