Mike Goodridge has been appointed artistic director of the International Film Festival & Awards Macao. The news comes shortly after the industry veteran announced he was stepping down as CEO of Protagonist Pictures.

Goodridge will be joining IFFAM in its second year, with the next edition set to take place at the Macao Cultural Centre from December 8-14. He’ll depart Protagonist officially in August, but will remain on the company’s board of directors.

The festival has also announced that it will launch a $60,000 prize for the winner of the feature film competition program, which will be dedicated exclusively to films by first and second time filmmakers.

“This is a young festival and we think that our international competition should consist of work from young directors who can offer fresh perspectives on the world we live in,” said Goodridge.

Meanwhile, Goodridge, head of festival management Lorna Tee and head of industry June Wu will focus on making the IFFAM Industry Hub an effective meeting point for select industry from Asia and the West, bringing new ideas, finance and stories together in an informal atmosphere.

Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes, director and president of the IFFAM Organising Committee said: “We welcome Mike to join the IFFAM team. With his experience and insights, we look forward to establishing a strong identity for the event in the global arena and we count on him to steer the IFFAM into a platform for the local and international film industry to meet, exchange and do business while bringing a wealth of choices to local and regional film audiences.

Tee added: “I am extremely delighted to have this opportunity to have Mike spearhead our vision of the festival as I have always admired his taste in films and his superb grasp of the film industry. Together with a team of respected industry veterans as our programming consultants, the second edition of IFFAM will be [to] definitely drive Macao towards being an unmissable destination of world cinema lovers.”

Goodridge became CEO of Protagonist Pictures in 2012. Prior to that he was a journalist for nearly 20 years, most recently serving as editor of Screen International.

“I am so excited to be working with the brilliant team at Macao on shaping the identity of this ambitious film festival,” said Goodridge. “Our plan is to cook up a feast of world cinema in this unique destination. We want to shine a bright spotlight on young first and second time filmmakers and really work hard to establish Macao as a meeting point for the industry from East to West.”