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Pusan parties: Oct. 8, 2007

VarietyAsiaOnline.com anniversary bash, Asian Film Market, Wide Angle party

Variety celebrates Variety Asia Online’s 1st anniversary

It is a strange concept to hold a birthday party for oneself, but Monday night Variety put on a first anniversary bash for its Asian website, Variety Asia.

Interrupting the serious business of drinking the bar dry, the paper’s execs and festival topper Kim Dong-ho ran through a series of speeches.

The website was launched in Pusan last year, with the objective of providing an easy to use, fast-moving collection of Variety‘s stories from the Asia region and team that with a daily newsletter — all for free. A year on, Variety Asia has published 2,000 stories — a mix of news, reviews and special features — and has gathered 5,000 subscribers.

Event, at the roof bar of the Seacloud Hotel, was gratifyingly well attended. Visitors included Hong Kong producer Shi Nansun, Sahamongkolfilm’s Gilbert Lim, Sidus boss Tcha Seung-jae, French producer Samuel Hadida, producers Roger Garcia and Lee In-ah, critic Tony Rayns, Jakarta festival topper Shanty Harmayn, L.A.-based Korean producer Paul Yi, Korean helmer E J-yong, Berlin fest’s Christoph Terhechte and Norman Wang, European Film Promotion’s Renate Rose and Swiss Film’s Francine Bruecher.

Patrick Frater

Asian Film Market opening reception

The opening reception for the Asian Film Market at the Grand Hotel on Monday evening drew a shoulder-to-shoulder crowd celebrating the market’s second year. First, though, guests had to pass a gauntlet of security, who waved through market participants with prestigious purplish badges, while stiff-arming guests with lower-ranking blue tags (some of whom nonetheless managed to talk their way in).

The volume of the full-bore schmoozing lowered briefly for stage greetings by PIFF director Kim Dong-ho and Star Summit Asia participants including John Cho, Ananda Everingham and Tatsuya Fujiwara, hot after the smash success of his “Death Note” pics.

Among the guests present was Yoko Narahashi, a speaker at the Co-Production PRO international casting workshop — and helmer of the currently lensing “Waiting for the Sun,” a drama she described as a “very personal film I’ve been trying to make for years.”

Veteran producer Shodo Udagawa also was on hand, filling in Variety on Asian Contents Center, a startup that is developing pic and TV projects for Japan, Asia and the world, in association with pubcaster NHK and other corporate partners. “We hope to announce our first projects shortly, even as soon as AFM,” Udagawa said.

Variety also spotted ebullient helmer Ho Yuhang, who had entertained attendees at a seminar on the Malaysian New Wave with a description of his “accidental life” as a maker of “really famous” DV pics.

Once the food disappeared — and a few latecomers could be seen forlornly spooning through the leftovers, the crowd quickly dispersed to other parties — or to rest up for another hopefully busy day at the Asian Film Market.

— Mark Schilling

Wide Angle party

At the Wide Angle party Monday night, Korea’s indie filmmakers gathered to celebrate emerging talent along four long tables in a room normally used for measuring nautical instruments.

Helpful staff wearing winged hats advertising the Naver website kept the beer flowing, and the bands were great although the long tables made getting a groove on slightly challenging.

Among the guests in the hangar were Kim-cho Gwang-su, producer of “No Regret”; Cho Chang-ho, director of “The Peter Pan Formula”; emerging talent on the short film circuit Josh Kim; and Canadian producer Andrew Boutilier.

— Clifford Coonan