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Busan: Korea’s ‘After My Death,’ Iran’s ‘Blockage’ Win Competition

Films from South Korea and Iran were announced Saturday as joint winners of the Busan Film Festival’s main competition section.

Kim Ui-seok’s “After My Death” and Mohsen Gharaei’s “Blockage” won the New Currents competition which focuses on first and second features by filmmakers from Asia.

“My Death” is critique of the world where reason and tolerance have no sway and is the story of a girl who is suspected of having goaded another schoolgirl into killing herself. “Blockage” reflects the current economic condition of Iran by depicting the overwhelming chaos that happens to a vicious, despicable temporary worker.

The jury was headed by American filmmaker Oliver Stone, and included Iranian director Bahman Ghobadi, French cinematographer Agnes Godard, Philippines’ Lav Diaz and South Korea’s Jang Sun-woo. The jury said that “both films are tightly scripted, and display vivid detail and excellent craftsmanship.”

The first Kim Ji-seok Award, a newly prize in honor of the late co-founder of the festival, went to Thai filmmaker Anucha Boonyawatana’s “Malila: The Farewell Flower,” and Japanese director Yoshida Daihachi’s “The Scythian Lamb.” Both films were in the festival’s Window on Asian Cinema section.

The festival, which has suffered plenty of late, this week welcomed some 193,000 visitors, an increase on last year’s 165,000, but still down on 2015’s 227,000.

“Despite the difficulties from in and outside, audience numbers grew by 17%,” said festival Kang Soo-youn at a press conference. “Filmmakers [from all over the world] including Asia, have noticed how the BIFF is bouncing back.” Scheduled to resign after tonight’s closing ceremony, Kang also emphasized the role of films and audiences in protecting the festival.

“As long as we have quality films and audiences that watch them, the festival will always remain strong and sound,” she said.

True/False Film Festival organizer David Wilson, Indian film critic Nandini Ramnath, and Korean director Kim Young-jo presented the BIFF Mecenat Awards to “Soseongri” by Korean director Park Bae-il and “Sennan Asbestos Disaster” by Japan’s Hara Kazuo.

The Sonje Awards were shared by Korean director Kwak Eun-mi’s “A Hand-Written Poster,” and “Madonna” by Indonesia’s Sinung Winahyoko.

The actor and actress of the year awards, given to on screen talent in a Korean Cinema Today—Vision section title, respectively went to Park Jong-hwan for his role in “Hit the Night” and Jeon Yeo-bin in New Currents-winning “My Death.”

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