MACAU | Piolo Pascual said he was very proud to represent the Philippines at the closing ceremony of the 2nd International Film Festival & Awards Macao held Thursday at Macau Cultural Center.
In his acceptance speech as one of the eight honorees bestowed with the Variety Asian Stars: Up Next special award, the 40-year-old Filipino actor said, “Thank you very much to IFFAM. It’s my first time in Macau, and I’m happy to represent the Philippines. I’m really proud to be here tonight. Again, thank you for this award and I hope to see you guys somewhere in time.”
The award is presented by Hollywood trade publication Variety to “rising Asian stars poised for global breakthrough.” In selecting Piolo, Variety noted that “At 40, Pascual is a veteran, but his career is still on the rise.”
The seven other recipients of the Variety Asian Stars award were Hong Kong’s Celina Jade, South Korea’s Ahn Seo-Hyeon, Thailand’s Chutimon ‘Aokbab’ Chuengcharoensukying, Japan’s Shioli Kutsuna, China’s Ludi Lin, Taiwan’s Eddie Peng and India’s Rajkummar Rao.
Piolo was accompanied in his trip to Macau by a group that included filmmaker Joyce Bernal, one of his partners in his own Spring Films production outfit.
In addition to the awards ceremony, Piolo also attended the Thai Gala night and premiere of the Thai thriller “Samui Song.”
Aside from the Variety Asian Stars award, two other special awards were presented to German acting legend Udo Kier who accepted the Career Achievement Award and Martial Arts actor Donnie Yen who was feted with the International Star of the Year honor.
The winners for the film competition awards were also announced with “Hunting Season” winning Best Film, “Wrath of Silence” taking home the Jury Prize, and Best Actor for Song Yang, and “Borg McEnroe” voted Audience Choice.
Other winners were “Beast” which won Best Actress for Jessie Buckley and the Award for Technical Contribution for cinematographer Benjamin Kracun; “Custody” which won Best Director for Xavier Legrand and Best New Young Actor for Thomas Gioria: and “Foxtrot” which won Best Screenplay for Samuel Moaz.
Non-competition entry “Angels Wear White” also received the NETPAC Award for the best Asian film across the selection.
“After an enchanting seven day cinematic journey, the 2nd IFFAM draws to a close. We have done our best to shape every section into profound and rewarding experiences, building on our strong commitment to help young filmmakers to venture into the global film industry and reach new heights,” said IFFAM President of Organizing Committee Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes.
“We have created an exchange platform for industry professionals from across the world, and tailor-made a training program for aspiring Macanese filmmakers to broaden their international perspectives, with our goal to foster cultural and creative industry development and immerse local audiences into a new depth of appreciation for international films.”
The 2nd IFFAM built on last year’s debut event with an increase in audience numbers and many sold-out screenings including “Journey’s End,” “Angels Wear White,” “Call Me By Your Name,” “The Last Recipe,” “A Day,” and “Reign of Assasins.”
Several Hollywood selections including the opening film “Paddington 2,” the dark horror comedy, “Mom and Dad,” and possible Oscar contenders “The Shape of Water,” “I, Tonya” and “The Florida Project” also drew keen interest.
Altogether a total of 48 screenings took place at the Macau Cultural Centre, the Macau Tower and the Cinematheque Passion.