Pusan fest hails Kurosawa for ‘Loft’

Pic has major Korean distrib, backer lined up

BUSAN — Japan’s darling arthouse helmer Kiyoshi Kurosawa picked up the coveted Pusan Award worth $20,000 for his project “Loft” on Tuesday.

Award was announced at the Pusan Promotion Plan, the professional sidebar of the nine-day Pusan Intl. Film Festival, which closes Friday.

Kurosawa’s “Doppelganger” opened the fest to a mixed reception from audience and critics.

“Loft” concerns the mysteries uncovered by a writer who moves into a loft apartment. Pic has major Korean distrib and production outfit Mirovision lined up as backer. Talks with potential European co-producers during the PPP have generated decent interest.

Korea’s Hur Jin-ho (“One Fine Spring Day”) secured the Kodak Award of film stock worth $20,000 for his project “The Happiness,” while Thailand’s romantic drama “Hi-So,” by Aditya Assarat, took home the Hubert Bals Fund Award of the Rotterdam Intl. Film Festival. Nod is worth $10,000 and secures the pic a place at Rotterdam’s Cinemart project market.

Other awards went to India’s Murali Nair for his “Virgin Cow” and to the Canadian-Korean co-production “Ventura,” to be directed by Helen Li.

This year’s PPP again confirmed Pusan as the prime meeting place of Asia’s film industry. Hundreds of filmmakers and execs from Korea, most key Asian territories and from Europe and the U.S. attended. Most seemed more than satisfied with the PPP.

Mused one French producer in town: “In these three days, one can get all the latest news about the Asian film industry and pick up two to three projects for co-production at the same time.”

Concurrently held with the PPP, the so-called Industry Center, a budding film market, allowed for some pre-Mifed deal checking and making, while the Busan Film Commission Showcase offered film commissions from all over Asia an occasion to lure productions to their respective territories.

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