By Sofia Jesus

Macau’s Cinematheque Passion will once again open its doors – for a day – to the general public, this Saturday. Some spaces of the new venue, located near the famous Ruins of Saint Paul’s, have been operating on an experimental stage since its launch last September.

This weekend, Hong Kong critic and filmmaker Jonathan Hung will be in town for a talk on “How film festivals are organised”. It is the second public talk organised this year in the cinematheque by the Cultural Affairs Bureau (IC), which is in charge of the space.

Mr Hung was a development manager for the Film and Video Department of the Hong Kong Arts Centre, and has taken part in the ifva Festival and in the release of independent films in Asia, IC says. He is currently director of InD Blue (Hong Kong) and InDPanda International Film Festival.

The talk comes in the same month that the international press released a news – later confirmed by the Macau government – saying the city would organise and host a Macau International Film Festival from December 8 to 13, this year. Marco Müller, who has directed several international film festivals – including Venice and Rome – would be the director of the festival.

The talk also comes in the same month that Macau-based director Ivo M. Ferreira’s film “Letters from War” was screened at the Berlin International Film Festival(Berlinale), in which it competed for the Golden Bear. The film can be seen at UA Galaxy Cinema Macau on March 5, as part of The Script Road – Macau Literary Festival.

It does seem film enthusiasts in Macau have reasons to smile, and to hope for.

According to IC, the cinematheque is aimed at promoting film culture in the city. The 60-seat screening room on the ground floor targets the screening of art and indie films, while a film information room on the first floor is set to offer cinema fans and researchers local film materials, newspapers and magazines.

Under this experimental stage – currently in its second phase –, IC has organised several public talks. Members of the film industry and film associations can also use the space, under what IC calls a “Temporary Venue Booking Programme”. From September until the end of 2015, more than 30 screenings took place in the venue, IC says.

The bureau has announced it plans to launch a public bid to select a private entity to run the place. When and under what conditions? Nobody knows. But those who – like me – crave for a more diversified, independent film offering in Macau are counting the days.