The Kim Ji-seok Award, named after the festival’s co-founder and head selector who died suddenly last year, was also shared. It went jointly to Jamshid Mahmoudi’s “Rona, Azim’s Mother” and to Zhang Wei’s drama about the clash between Christianity and a man who wants a sex change, “The Rib.”
Headed by Korean director Kim Hong-joon, the New Currents jury praised “Savage” as a “strikingly accomplished and riveting first film, exhibiting a mastery of genre cinema, with multi-dimensional characters and thrilling action sequences.” Of “Clean Up,” the jury said that the film was “original, surprising and deeply emotional, with detailed characterization, perfect control and masterful psychological development.” The jury included Japanese actor Kunimura Jun, Macedonian actress Labina Mitevska, Sydney Film Festival director Nashen Moodley and Hong Kong producer Shi Nansun.
Festival organizers described a process of normalization after three years of turmoil. “The festive mood has recovered perfectly,” said festival director Jay Jeon, “We will work out a way to attract participation from the older generations and return the love we have received from the Busan citizens.”
Artistic Director of Visions du Reel Emilie Bujes, Korean director Lee Hyuk-sang and Chinese filmmaker Zhao Liang presented the BIFF Mecenat Awards to James T. Hong’s “Opening Closing Forgetting” (Taiwan) and Kelvin Kyungkun Park’s “Army” (Korea). Korean director Lee-Kil Bora’s “A War of Memories” received a special mention. The Sonje Awards were shared by “Cat Day Afternoon” by Korean director Kwon Sung-mo and “Nooreh” by India’s Ashish Pandey.
The actor and actress of the year awards, given to on screen talents in a Korean Cinema Today—Vision section title, went to two actresses this year: Lee Ju-yeong for her role in “Maggie” and Choi Hee-seo in “Our Body.”
Organizers said that they had screened 324 films, of which 115 were world premieres, from 79 territories. Audience numbers over the 10-day period totaled 191,000.
They reported that the market was also bolstered by the changed climate. The Asian Film Market saw a 38% year on year increase in companies participating, reaching 911. Its project market hosted a record 743 one-on-on meetings between producers pitching projects and potential distributors, financiers and sales agents.