BUSAN: Festival launches Talent Incubator With China’s Youku

BUSAN – Chinese online video site Youku is to pact with the Busan festival to launch a new talent discovery program.

Youku and BIFF will Saturday (Oct. 4) sign a memorandum of understanding to launch the initiative which will run from 2015 to 2017.

Asia’s Masters and Newcomers Project’ will provide financial support for short film production by 4 selected new directors and 4 experienced directors over the three year period.

Initially the festival will select two first time directors from this year’s edition of the Asian Film Academy, while Youku nominates two others. The other four will be selected by the end of the year.

Film production will start from early next year, and the resulting eight shorts will have their premieres at the Busan festival.

Headed by founder and CEO Victor Koo, Youku is part of the Youku Tudou online video group that is listed on the New York Stock Exchange and is 20% owned by e-commerce giant Alibaba. Over the past few five years Youku has been increasing its involvement in production finance. It has been involved as an investor and minority producer in feature films including “Old Boys” and “Aberdeen.”

In August Youku went one step further and launched a movie production and investment company called Heyi Film to be run by Koo and Allen Zhu. Lee Yong Kwan, director of the Busan festival serves on its board as an independent director.

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