The low-budget film Strings of Sorrow, directed by Macau-born Oliver Fa and produced by Fernando Lourenço, was done with around only MOP1 million (US$124,020), mostly from their own pockets, the filmmaker – and also musician – said to Macau News Agency (MNA).

The world premiere of independent movie Strings of Sorrow will be held on December 8, at Macau Tower, as part of the International Film Festival & Awards Macao (IFFAM)’s 20th Anniversary of Macau Special Presentations. Oliver Fa considered the Strings of Sorrow selection for the film festival as “a great honor”.

“I am finally leading my team to the end of our almost impossible mission”, he added.

Oliver Fa’s second feature is set in Macau’s classical music scene, featuring four string players who come together to rehearse for a string quartet concert: ‘First violin’ Sieo, ‘cello’ Fung (played by Fa himself), ‘second violin’ Fei and And Chin-I – ‘viola’. But it’s not a smooth ride as each member has different backgrounds and motivations.

Strings of Sorrow is a story that the musician Oliver Fa “really wanted to film”, “independently and without restrictions”, although the topic “may not be popular”. He started shooting last year, in a “low budget” production scheme, “using our own cameras and lighting” and working voluntarily.

After the premiere in Macau, Oliver Fa wants to submit his second feature to other international film festivals, such as Shanghai and Busan, in South Korea. The film-maker is well-aware of the Macau film industry’s limitations.

The city still lacks film distribution structures, to make a feature film available to the general public. “Screening is limited to few public and private sessions”, he said. “So, we have talent in Macau, but we also need a real industry”, Fa added.

However, “it is hard for Macau to have a film industry due to the size of our city, lack of infrastructure and lack of market to support a local industry”, he said.  Therefore, expanding internationally is the only way to grow.

While Macau can “continue with its role as a beautiful and unique location for films, we think what the government is doing for the industry is great to stimulate the development of talents allowing them to have a role in big projects outside of Macau.

“We are now starting to have our local talents taking on projects from China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. This is a good sign”, Oliver Fa said.

While the city presents challenges to the film industry development Oliver Fa also believes that “the film industry is certainly gaining momentum”, which “is reflected in the creation of the International Film Festival and Awards Macao, with local films having their premieres at the festival”.

Also, “we have short and feature film funds supported by the Government, we have our films going to other international film festivals, and to film markets, our films are screened outside Macau, and all these key milestones suggest that we are evolving the industry”, he said.

“We have seen our local movies, the quality is certainly improving and moving in the right direction. It can only get better and better”, he concluded.

by Claudia Aranda

[Source: Macau Business,December 4, 2019]