Location elation

Asian locales, services strutting their stuff

PUSAN — While buyers and sellers haggle over price at the Asian Film Market, the production community is talking shop on a more comprehensive scale at industry sidebar BIFCOM, hosted by the Busan Film Commission.

Although BIFCOM started out in 2001 as a locations expo, it quickly expanded to become much more than that. Companies specializing in film equipment, props, set construction, post-production and computerized special effects now jostle for space beside film commissions from across the region.

The business carried out at BIFCOM may draw fewer headlines than the deals hammered out at the market and the Pusan Promotion Plan, but many films of the past few years owe their unique visuals or effects to meetings that first took place in Busan.

This year, 38 film commissions and shooting support organizations are in attendance, with 29 companies from 16 countries representing other sectors of the industry.

Among those in Pusan is Michael Lake, president of Warner Roadshow Studios in Australia. Lake’s visit as a guest speaker in 2005 convinced him that it would be worthwhile for Gold Coast City, the major film production center in Queensland, to participate for the first time this year.

“We’re very interested in promoting Gold Coast City to Asian productions, particularly those in Korea and India,” said Lake. “It’s the same situation as when we started off with Hollywood — first you need to build the relationships and then the results will follow.”

Toshihiko Inoue of the Sapporo Film Commission said that Korean productions are his main target at BIFCOM. “We’ve already scheduled three meetings with Korean companies who have concrete interest in shooting in Hokkaido,” he said.

Earlier this year, Sidus FNH’s “Love Me Not” featuring Korean star Moon Geun-young shot on the snowy northern Japanese island.

From the industry side, this year’s event will focus on digital cinema, with a variety of seminars and technical demonstrations of the latest in digital cinematography. Among the presentations on Sunday was Korea’s first look at the ARRI D-20 camera. The demonstration drew much interest from Korean film companies, no surprise considering that the country has been among the first to embrace advances in filmmaking technology.

Other presentations include the Thompson Grass Valley Viper (used to shoot “Miami Vice” and Park Chan-wook’s upcoming “I’m a Cyborg, But That’s Okay”) and the Sony F900R, best known for its use in “Star Wars.”

Beyond cameras, speakers will also examine trends in digital post-production and business models for digital cinema in China, Japan, South Korea, the U.S. and Singapore.

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