Leading independent producers from Asia and Europe showed the complicated routes taken in making indie films that are co-produced between the two regions.

They were gathered on Monday at Platform Busan, the Busan International Film Festival’s venue for sharing experiences.

Raymond Phathanavirangoon, a Bangkok-based producer and co-founder of the SEAFIC script lab, took the audience on the myriad paths taken by 2016 multi-country co-production “Apprentice,” by Singapore’s Boo Junfeng, that he co-wrote and co-produced.

The project was introduced in 2012 at the Rotterdam CineMart, then benefited from the Busan Asian Cinema Script Development Fund and Singapore’s Media Development Authority Development Fund before going to the Jerusalem Script Lab the same year. In 2013, the project received funding from Germany’s Film – und Medienstiftung NRW and France’s Aide aux Cinemas du Monde.

In 2014, Germany’s ZDF Das Kleine Fernsehspiel did a pre-buy. The same year “Apprentice” received a Singapore Media Development Authority Production Grant. In 2015, the project received finance from Commission du film d’Ile-de-France, the Doha Film Institute Post-Production Fund and the TorinoFilmLab Audience Design Fund. In 2016 the completed film bowed in Cannes’ Un Certain Regard strand.

Other speakers at the Busan event included: Guillaume de la Boulaye from France, Yulia Evina Bhara from Indonesia and Bostjan Virc from Slovenia. The event was organised by European Film Promotion and European Audiovisual Entrepreneurs Ties That Bind and was moderated by the latter organisation’s chief executive Christina Trapp and international relations executive Alessandro Gropplero.

De la Boulaye detailed the Asia-Europe co-production routes taken by Korean filmmaker Jero Yun’s 2016 film “Mrs.B., a North Korean Woman,” his “Beautiful Days” that opened Busan in 2018, Chinese filmmaker Song Chuan’s 2017 film “Ciao Ciao,” and Chinese-Austrian filmmaker Chen Bo Yilin’s upcoming “Money Boys.” Bhara discussed the roads travelled by her production “The Science of Fictions,” directed by Yosep Anggi Noen, that bowed at Locarno and is playing this year at Busan. Virc recounted his experience of working on Bradley Liew’s “Motel Acacia”.

While the producers’ experiences dealing with the often convoluted routes that are a feature of global productions were mostly positive, Phathanavirangoon struck a note of caution.

“Just be aware when you do co-productions with Europe that there are also not great people out there,” he said. “There have been quite a number of cases where Asian filmmakers who worked with European co-producers and some sales agents who purposely take advantage. However there are a lot of great European co-producers, that’s why I work with the people I work with. But just be very careful.”

In a separate discussion on the same topic, Russian-German producer Anna Katchko shared her experiences of working on Bangladeshi filmmaker Mostofa Sarwar Farooki’s “Saturday Afternoon” and Kazakh filmmaker Sharipa Urazbayeva’s “Mariam.” Both films are playing at Busan.