Orgs at Pusan point to self-reliance

Asian Film Industry Network has high profile launch

PUSAN, South Korea — A trio of industry organizations had their official comings-out at the just-concluded Pusan Film Festival. Moves are a sign the sector is becoming more structured and perhaps more self-reliant.

Highest profile, for Pusan at least, was Tuesday’s official launch of the Asian Film Industry Network, a collection of state supported and promotional bodies that was initially proposed at the 2002 Pusan event. Body aims to support filmmaking in the region by encouraging co-productions, organization of joint promotions at film markets and festivals and exchanges of industry data.

Full members of the new org are the Korean Film Council, Unijapan, Vietnam Media Corp and the Federation of National Film Assn. of Thailand. China Film Promotion Intl., itself formed only last year, and the Singapore Film Commission have observer status.

Pusan also was the first international appearance for Japan’s Visual Industry Promotional Organization, set up earlier this year after three years of preparation.

VIPO is a private-sector initiative, headed by Shochiku prexy Jay Sakomoto. Unlike Unijapan and other Japanese film bodies, it draws its finances from member subscriptions and multiple government ministries. Structure is intended to render it independent of any one paymaster.

VIPO has members drawn from film, TV, games, music and animation. It is a backer of the Tokyo Project Gathering, a new co-production market taking place under the auspices of this month’s Tokyo Film Festival.

Most guerrilla of the three orgs is Komite Sinema Indonesia, a producer-led group collecting and publishing information on the resurgent Indonesian industry. Chaired by helmers Abduh Aziz and Mira Lesmana, Komite Sinema is managed by John Badalu, one of the organizers of the Jakarta Film Festival and head of the lesbian and gay Q-Film Festival. Org sees itself as both a lobbyist and a modern alternative to the country’s sclerotic old producers’ associations.

Country has seen an impressive upswing in production from eight feature movies in 2000 to a forecast 36 this year, but, Badalu said, “Too many film companies are working in an isolated fashion.”

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