Pusan fest grows with L.A. event, cable plans

PIFF to screen Korean, Asian pics in Los Angeles

SEOUL — The Pusan Film Festival will go on the road for PIFF in L.A., a selection of primarily Korean and Asian films from this year’s event to be screened in Los Angeles in the first half of 2007.

L.A. mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, on a trip through Asia last week, pledged his support for the new event, as he marked a 40-year sister relationship between L.A. and Pusan. The screenings will be organized by PIFF, JoongAng Broadcasting Corp. (JBC) and L.A.-based newspaper the Korea Daily.

In addition, the Pusan festival announced a partnership with JBC that is expected to lead to the launch of a PIFF-branded cable channel modeled after the Sundance Channel.

In the first half of 2007 the two sides aim to introduce a specially-branded PIFF time block on the JBC-owned Q Channel. A selection of more than 50 former PIFF titles will be broadcast along with other film-related content.

The full launch of a separate cable channel, to be called the PIFF Channel, is expected within two to three years. JBC has also announced the launch of a 50 million won ($52,000) annual fund to support the production of Korean and other Asian documentaries, in return for future broadcast rights.

The initiative will fall under the umbrella of the Asian Network of Documentary program sponsored by the festival and other donors.