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‘Rom’ and ‘Haifa Street’ Split Busan Festival’s New Currents Prize

Vietnamese coming-of-age drama “Rom” and Iraq-Qatar co-production “Haifa Street” shared the top award in the New Currents competition section of the Busan International Film Festival.

The prizes were announced Saturday morning in Busan, South Korea.

Headed by British director Mike Figgis, the New Currents jury said that “the use of real, live locations” in “Rom” “impressed the jury greatly and that the ending was very satisfying.” The jury praised “Haifa Street,” as “a mature, grown up movie” made by a director that “exhibited a confidence and understanding of cinema language which set the film apart.”

The Kim Ji-seok Award, named after the festival’s co-founder and executive programmer who died in 2017, was jointly presented to Sarmad Sultan Khoosat’s “Circus of Life” (Pakistan) and to Pradip Kurbah’s “Market” (India). Headed by Iranian filmmaker Mohsen Makhmalbaf, the jury included Malaysian director-actress Tan Chui Mui and Korean film critic Huh Moon-young.

Korean director Jung Jae-eun, Japanese director Hamaguchi Ryusuke and Dogwoof Founder Andy Whittaker presented the BIFF Mecenat Awards to Kim Jeong-keun’s “Underground” (Korea) and Hou Ning’s “Noodle Kid” (China).

The actor and actress of the year awards, given to on screen talent in the Korean Cinema Today—Vision section title, went to Kim Jun-hyung and Mun Hye-in in “The Education.”

Organizers said that they had screened 299 films, of which 118 were world premieres, from 85 territories. Audience numbers over the 10-day period totaled 189,000.

They reported that the changes brought to the Asian Film Market were successful. The Asian Film Market saw a 22% year on year increase in individuals participating, reaching 2,188. The number of companies participated in the market reached 200, which was a 17% increase from the previous year. Its project market hosted a record 743 one-on-on meetings between producers pitching projects and potential distributors, financiers and sales agents.

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