IFFAM 2018’s Best Project award goes to sexual harassment film ‘Lost Paradise’

Jury Press Conference - Paul Currie, Danis Tanovic, Mabel Cheung, Tillotama Shome, CHEN Kaige (Jury President) and Mike Goodridge (IFFAM Artistic)

Yesterday, Dec. 10, was the conclusion of the International Film Festival & Awards Macao (IFFAM) Industry Hub, which included the IFFAM Project Market Awards.

The Best Project award went to Macao filmmaker Tracy Choi’s “Lost Paradise,” which will examine a victim of sexual harassment– a high school girl seduced by her much older tutor. The film will be from the vantage point of the young girl’s close friend.

Choi is known for his 2017 critically acclaimed 2017 film “Sisterhood,” which bagged the Most Promising Talent award at the Osaka Film Festival. “Lost Paradise” is set to be his sophomore feature film.

The Best Project award is granted to “the most profound qualities across all aspects of the production” and comes with a cash prize of $15,000 that will be used to further develop the film. “Lost Paradise,” which targets 2020 to start its principal photography, aims to raise $1.3 million budget from Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Meanwhile, Spanish filmmaker Sadrac Gonzalez-Perellon’s “Amazing Elisa” earned the IFFAM’s Special Mention for the best project award.

For the Best Co-production Award, IFFAM handed it to the film project “Ajooma,” to be directed by Singapore’s He Shuming and produced by Tan Si En and Anthony Chen of Giraffe Pictures.

The award carries a $10,000 prize, which will help produce a story about a Singaporean widow who is obsessed with Korean drama and gets lost in Seoul while traveling. The project, with a budget of $1.1 million, has also won awards at Singapore’s Southeast Asian Film Lab and the SEAFIC award in Bangkok.

The Creative Excellence Award, with a $10,000 prize, was given to “Dogman,” directed by Argentina’s genre filmmaker Tamae Garateguy (“Pompeya,” “Shewolf”) and produced by Silvia Rodriguez. “Dogman,” with a $691,000 budget, is a revenge drama that focuses on a boy with a Japanese superhero father out to avenge his family’s disappearance.

The Macao Spirit Award was presented to “Wonderland” with a prize of $5,000 in cash. The film will be directed by Chao Koi Wang (“March Rhapsody”) and produced by Gao Yi Tian (“An Elephant Sitting Still”).

The jury this year included filmmaker Evan Louis Katz (“Cheap Thrills”), producer Philip Lee (“Cloud Atlas”) and TorinoFilmLab head of industry Jane Williams.

This year’s IFFAM, proving to be a strong-running festival since its inception in 2016, opened in Dec. 8 and is still still in full swing. The festival will end on the 14th with a closing film from acclaimed director Zhang Yimou, the epic martial arts drama “Shadow.”