Europe Booms at Busan

Courtesy of Cannes Film Festival

After a fallow 2017, European cinema at the Busan International Film Festival and the Asian Film Market enjoyed a renaissance in 2018. Now, this year is proving to be an improvement over 2018.

European Film Promotions’ (EFP) Europe! Umbrella scheme, operated in conjunction with Unifrance has drawn 36 European sales companies, more than in recent years. Gaumont, a heavy hitter missing in recent years, makes a return to the market in 2019 with the world premiere of “#iamhere.” New entrants include Belgium’s Best Friend Forever, representing several titles including Flash Forward strand competitor “Valley of Souls,” Austria’s EastWest Filmdistribution, present with the world premiere of “The Accidental Rebel,” and Poland’s company Media Move with Icelandic film “Agnes Joy,” another world premiere.

The number of European delegates at the market in 2019 as part of the Europe! Goes Busan plan has leaped, to 64 this year, from 42 in 2018. Of the hundreds of titles on offer at the market, 30 new European films from 20 companies will gain from EFP’s film sales support programme. Since September, thanks to additional funding from Creative Europe – Media Programme, has been offering up to €8,000 ($8,500) for innovative digital promotion strategies, including for films that are in post.

“EFP started last year to intensify the cooperation with the festival, which improved the European presence at the festival significantly. Together we organise Master Classes, sessions between European and Asian filmmakers and case studies to improve the exchange between the professionals from the different continents,” said EFP’s Jo Muehlberger

“Allowing European artists to join in a dedicated session of BIFF’s Platform Busan was another improvement. A new partnership between BIFF’s Asian Project Market, EAVE’s Ties That Bind and EFP’s Producers on The Move was launched in 2018 as well, stimulating the exchange between Asian and European producers. We also witnessed increasing interest from the industry side in Europe! Goes Busan as the label brings together the artistic delegation and the sales companies at EFP’s Europe! Umbrella at the Asian Film Market.“

A galaxy of well known names from Europe will be attending the market and several other events organised by the EFP in conjunction with the festival. They include Chiara Mastroianni representing “On A Magical Night”, Robert Guediguian with “Gloria Mundi”, Costa Gavras with “Adults in the Room”, Ladj Ly with “Les Miserables,” which is France’s entry to the Oscars’ international feature category, Davide Del Devan with “Paradise,” and Ivana Mladenovic and Ada Solomon with “Ivana the Terrible.”

“The general impression is that the Busan festival and the Asian Film Market are back on track,” said Susanne Davis. The Asian Film Market runs Oct. 5-8.