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‘Kick Off,’ ‘Trouble’ nab Pusan prize

'Last Cowboy Standing' wins Flash Forward

PUSAN, South Korea — Iraqi-Japanese co-production “Kick Off” and Korea’s “I’m in Trouble” shared the top prize in the New Currents section of Pusan Film Festival, which wrapped Friday.

Pics received $30,000 each for winning the section, which is for first time Asian helmers.

Shawkat Amin Korki’s “Kick Off” examined the difficulties faced by the Kurdish community in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, while So Sang-min’s “I’m in Trouble” portrays the trials and tribulations of a young poet.

French helmer Jean-Jacques Beneix, head of the New Currents jury, said: “We noted the absence of optimism and a lot of films revealed a certain fear of the future. Asian cinema looks like its European counterpart and depicts a dark picture of the world situation.”

The other competition section, Flash Forward, which launched this year, gave its top prize and $20,000 to family drama “Last Cowboy Standing,” by Finnish helmer Zaida Bergroth.

The festival screened 355 films from 70 countries to an audience of 173,516, which repped a 70% occupancy rate. This is slightly down from last year, mainly due to fear of the swine flu epidemic. There were 860 international guests and 3,178 local guests.

The fest wrapped Friday night with “The Message” by Chinese helmers Gao Qunshu and Chen Kuo-fu.

Meanwhile, Japanese helmer Aoyama Shinji’s “Decadent Sisters” collected the Pusan Award and $20,000 at the Pusan Film Festival’s project market, the Pusan Promotion Plan, which wrapped its 12th edition on Wednesday.

Project focuses on two sisters who become prostitutes in Tokyo in 1945 to survive after WWII.

Some 30 projects attended the event this year and the PPP organized more than 500 meetings between filmmakers during the three day meet.

AWARD WINNERS OF THE 14TH PUSAN FILM FESTIVAL

NEW CURRENTS AWARD

FILM

“Kick Off,” Shawkat Amin Korki (Iraq-Japan)

“I’m in Trouble,” So Sang Min (S. Korea)

SPECIAL MENTION

“Squalor,” Giuseppe Bede Sampedro (Philippines)

FLASH FORWARD AWARD

FILM

“Last Cowboy Standing,” Zaida Bergroth (Finland-Germany)

SPECIAL MENTION

“Miss Kicki,” Hakon Liu (Taiwan-Sweden)

SONJE AWARD FOR SHORT FILMS

“Somewhere Unreached,” Kim Jae-won (Korea)

“Rare Fish,” Basi Vassili Mironer (Singapore-Indonesia)

MECENAT AWARD FOR DOCUMENTARIES

“Earth’s Woman,” Kwon WooJung (Korea)

“The Other Song,” Saba Dewan (India)

FIPRESCI AWARD

“Kick Off,” Shawkat Amin Korki (Iraq-Japan)

NETPAC AWARD

“Paju,” Park Chan Ok (Korea)

KNN MOVIE AWARD

“Lan,” Jiang Wenli (China)

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