By Sofia Jesus

Macau’s Cinemathéque ­­— Passion will finally come to a full life in April, under the guidance of CUT Ltd, who has won the public tender to manage the space. Daily sessions of independent films, talks, workshops and film-in-residence programmes are part of the company’s three-year plan.

“It’s a challenge,” local film director Albert Chu, from cultural organization Associação Audio-Visual CUT, told mART.

Mr Chu explained the association entered last year’s tender through a new company, CUT Ltd, of which he is one of the owners. Their three-year contract — valued at “around 8 million per-year” — started on January 1st this year.

The opening ceremony of the full-functioning Cinemathéque — Passion is scheduled to March 30th. To mark the occasion, CUT Ltd has commissioned three local directors, namely António Faria, Tracy Choi and Chao Koiwang, to present new works.

Starting from April 1st, the space will work “as a regular cinema [theatre house],” with at least one daily session – in the evening – and possibly more in the weekend, Mr Chu explained. Films to be screened at Cinemathéque — Passion will be non-commercial films that are not shown in other theatres in Macau, he added.

“The theatre [house] will have Macau films shown regularly,” Mr Chu told mART. But not only films from Macau will be screened there.

The plan also includes special programmes throughout the year – there will be one in April on Macau cinema – as well as film-related talks and workshops.

Mr Chu explained CUT Ltd also plans to organise a kind of “film-in-residence” programme, inviting “filmmakers from other cities” to stay for a while in Macau taking part in “workshops”, “open screenings” and visiting local schools or higher education institutions to share their experiences in filmmaking.

The team also hopes to challenge people to write film proposals for a chance to have them appreciated by a film director, as well as to involve those interested in curating certain film-related events.

As for the audience, Mr Chu hopes the team will be able to attract the general public to the cinemathéque. “We will try to raise the [audience’s] level of appreciation of different kinds of films.”

Cinemathéque — Passion includes an archive room for materials related to cinema, but it will be up to Macau’s Cultural Affairs Bureau (IC, in the Portuguese acronym) to buy the books and films to be kept there, Mr Chu explained. CUT Ltd, he said, will make some recommendations of materials and help the bureau to manage the space. “But it is still in a very initial stage,” he told mART.

The cinemathéque, located in a three-storey building at Travessa da Paixão, near Saint Paul’s Ruins, opened on a trial basis in September 2015. Since then, the venue has only been open to the public when there is an event there. Until the end of last year, IC ran a “temporary venue booking programme,” opened to reservations from members of the film industry, filmmakers and film associations. A series of activities such as seminars and workshops organised by IC have also been held there.