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Competition for Busan’s Asian Project Market Gets Tougher

Competition for places at the Busan festival’s Asian Project Market is tougher than ever. While market organizers are sticking to their familiar format – 29 projects to be pitched over three days – the number of hopeful candidates this year increased by 30% to 401, hailing from 69 countries.

The lineup, announced on Wednesday, comprises a mixture of Korean auteur projects, others from the rest of Asia, and a growing number of projects that connect Asia and Europe.

The selection includes well-known directors such as Japan’s Yukisada Isao, presenting “Soundtrack of an Eternal Day,” and Thailand’s Kongdej Jaturanrasmee, with “Where We Belong.” Singapore’s Yeo Siew Hua, whose “A Land Imagined” appears this week in competition in Locarno, will be in Busan with “Stranger Eyes.”

Leading producers also feature in the lineup. China’s indie film icon Jia Zhangke will present “Without End, Without Doubt,” to be directed by Gong Wen. Bianca Balbuena, who last year collected the outstanding achievement award at the APSAs, will present “Fan Girl,” to be directed by Antoinette Jadaone from The Philippines.

Among the Korean projects are new efforts by Zhang Lu, who previously appeared at the Busan festival with “Grain in Ear” and “A Quiet Dream,” and director Kim Uiseok, winner of last year’s New Currents section with “After My Death.” Zhang presents “Yanagawa” and Kim “The Martyrdom.” Former Variety correspondent Han Sunhee attends as producer of “The Final Print,” by director Jang Woo-jin, who previously won Busan’s Vision-Director’s Award in 2016 with “Autumn, Autumn.”

The project sessions run Oct. 7-9 at the BEXCO II convention center. The Busan festival runs Oct. 4-13.

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