Pix picked up in Pusan; mart expansion planned

Most in-demand project was 'Beautiful'

PUSAN, South Korea — The Pusan festival’s market and its PPP co-production forum ended Wednesday with a flurry of deals and the announcement of plans for a massive market expansion.

Mayor Hur Nam-shik and festival topper Kim Dong-ho said next year Busan will host a four-day market for Asian film in the colossal convention center near fest’s current location. Move is said to reflect a planned consolidation of the Korean film industry in the Busan region but is bound to create controversy in Asiaand, to a lesser extent, within Korea.

Deals announced at the end of the market included the following:

–“Heirloom” sold by Taiwan Cinema to Tartan Films for the U.S. Tartan also bought Japan’s “Prayer” and “Booth” from Pony Canyon for the U.S. and U.K. and Korea’s “Cello” for the same territories.

–Gaga Entertainment bought Japanese rights to Korean melodrama “Sad Movie” from iHQ for 80%-90% of its $3.5 million budget. Pic also was sold to Edko for Hong Kong and to Festive Films for Singapore. IHQ also sold its Andrew Lau-helmed thriller “Daisy” to Innoform for Singapore and Malaysia.

–Pusan fest closing film “Wedding Campaign” was sold by Mirovision to Sony. Mirovision also sold “Never to Lose” to Japan’s Media Factory.

–Hong Kong’s Golden Network sold “Midnight My Love” to local Korean major CJ Entertainment.

–Hong Kong-based Fortissimo also scored a trio of deals with Korean buyers. “P.S.” was sold to rights trader Korea Screen, “Maid” to Entermode and “Snowcake” to Media Film Intl.

Hur said the Busan Film Market will host more than 200 market screenings and capitalize on the overlap between the festival, PPP and the BIFCOM locations expo to create a “total film market” spanning locations, finance and finished movies. Also for sale will be TV programming and mobile content.

Budget of the event is likely to be north of $3 million, with at least $1 million each coming from the city of Busan and from the private sector. Discussions are ongoing concerning other funding.

PPP organizers boasted that this year’s three-day event involved 1,100 participants and more than 600 PPP-scheduled project pitches. Most in-demand project was Kim Ki-duk’s “Beautiful.”

Awards bestowed at PPP included the $20,000 Busan award, split between Lee Kwang-mo’s project “Fairy Tale of a Picture Tree” and “Heartbreak Pavilion,” from co-helmers Thunska Pansittivorakul and Sompot Chidgasornpongsee. The Cineclick Asia Award, which carries a $10,000 cash prize and a first-look deal with seller Cineclick, went to Siddiq Barmak’s “Opium War.” The LJ Films Award for Korean project in the NDIF section went to “A Girl From the Fourth Dimension” by Park Eun-young, who gets $19,000 and a production guarantee.

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