Pusan fest plans fireworks

10th anni marked with more pics, more events, bigger budget

LONDON — South Korea’s Pusan Film Festival is planning a bigger raft of films and special events than ever before as a lead-up to the Oct. 6-14 event, heading off challenges from Tokyo and Hong Kong for the crown as the region’s premier film fest.

Pusan director Kim Dong-ho told Daily Variety that the 10th edition had nabbed $1 million in extra funding — half from government, half from Pusan city — on top of its usual $3.5 million, to celebrate the anniversary.

Through the Asian Film Academy, 20 promising filmmakers — mostly non-Koreans — will be given a week’s study at Seoul’s Korean Academy of Film Arts and a chance at creating a short film during the festival.

The workshop is essentially funded by Pusan’s cash-rich Dongseo U., which under a central government program has received $55 million to spend over five years on such ventures. The Korean Film Commission is contributing $200,000.

The AFA — which Kim says is modeled after Sundance’s Filmmakers Lab and the Berlinale’s Talent Campus — is seen as a long-term project, with Dongseo to set up a permanent fund after the initial five years.

Fest also will unveil the LJ Film Award, a $200,000 fund created by local production house LJ Film toward new projects from Korea and Asia.

Fest sidebar the Asian Pantheon will highlight little-known past works from famed filmmakers from Syria to Japan. The 30 titles, chosen by the fest’s programmers, include Chen Kaige’s “The Big Parade” (1985), Lino Brocka’s “Manila: In the Claws of Night” (1975) and Teguh Karya’s “The Face of Man” (1972).

According to Kim, Pusan’s Korean retro will be dedicated to helmer Lee Man-hee, who died in the 1970s.

The country focus this year will be on the U.K., with helmer Peter Greenaway skedded to attend.

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