Come, the Light: the Macao production that shines in the FIRST International Film Festival

10 2015 | Issue 10

Text/Jason Leong

One of the most prestigious film showcases in China, FIRST International Film Festival was held in Xining, the capital of Qinghai province in July. Chao Koi Wang, a Macao director won the Best Short Film Award at the Festival’s Competition Section with Come, the Light.

Directed by Chao Koi Wang, Come, the Light is an episode in Macao Stories 3: City Maze. The judge panel was impressed by the production with a film crew of local Macao people and the theme exploring the values of people in the gambling business and the changes brought by the economic growth to the Macao society.

In his acceptance speech, Chao said, “although there is no film industry in Macao yet, people are working hard to change that. I hope the Chinese-speaking filmmakers would pay more attention to the development of the Macao film business in the future.”

Brought in new blood for the mainland film industry

FIRST International Film Festival was first held in 2006 and all the participants had to submit their first feature film for the competition. The organisers hoped to provide the young filmmakers more competition, in order to bring more varieties and improvement to the film business. The 9th FIRST International Film Festival invited many big names in the industry to be members of the judge panel, including the reputable director Jiang Wen, actor Chang Chen and the awarding winning cinematographer Peter Pau. Pau said after the ceremony he was especially fond of Chao’s film and impressed by his storytelling skill.

This year, the competition section was divided into college student category and youth category. The college student category was opened for college students and there was no age limit for the youth category. Chao is a college student, but he chose to take the challenge by competing in the youth category and won the Best Short Film Award. The competition section also presents Best Documentary, Best Actor, Best Director and other awards for the young filmmakers, who deserve proper recognition.

Apart from the competition section, FIRST is organised in various sections, including China Exhibition Tour, Film Forum and Film Financing Forum, etc., to enrich young Chinese filmmakers’ diversified learning experiences. Chao said he had learnt a lot from the film festival through exchanging thoughts with other filmmakers from Greater China and meeting mainland investors.

Stay and work in Macao after gaining national recognition

Chao has already gained a reputation in Macao directing March Rhapsody. The film was shortlisted for the International Short Film Festival of Bueu in Spain and won the Jury’s Commendation Award (Short Film) in the MIFVF – Macau Indies 2011.

Chao is still studying for a master degree in film in Taiwan. He is certain to pursuit a career in filmmaking after graduation, although he has not decided where to base yet. Nevertheless, he will stay in Macao if there are opportunities because, after all, Macao is home.