Veteran actor Youn Yuh-jung, who earlier this year won the Oscar for best supporting actress in “Minari,” Thursday received South Korea’s highest cultural sector medal. The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism gave Youn the Geumgwan Order of Cultural Merit during the 2021 Korea Popular Culture and Arts Awards ceremony held at the National Theater of Korea. Youn has a long and distinguished career, and was recently celebrated as the actor in focus at the London Korean Film Festival. Her debut film “Woman of Fire,” directed by Kim Ki-yong was recently restored and re-released.
FILM PROJECT FUNDING
Non-profit Asian film fund Purin Pictures is to disburse $185,000 in its November funding round to five fiction films and one documentary.
This round saw grants go to projects by relatively established filmmakers. “Stranger Eyes,” by Singapore’s Yeo Siew Hua, is the follow-up to his Locarno Golden Leopard winner “A Land Imagined.” Malaysia’s Yeo Joon Han, who won a prize in Venice for his 2008 “Sell Out!” returns with a self-reflexive comedy in “You are Here.” Indonesia’s Kamila Andini (recently rewarded in Toronto for “Yuni”) is finishing up “Before, Now, and Then.” Seasoned documentarian Baby Ruth Villarama from the Philippines is deep in production on “Touch the Color.” Newcomers to receive grants are Thailand’s Ratchapoom Bunbanchachoke for “A Useful Ghost,” and The Philippines’ Erika Del Mundo for “Sam,” which were both awardees at the Locarno Open Doors event to support Southeast Asian projects.
Started in 2017 under the Purin Foundation, the fund’s activities cover film production, exhibition and education. It is managed by filmmakers Anocha Suwichakornpong and Aditya Assarat.
The bosses of regional and satellite TV broadcaster in China were summoned to a meeting with the Communist Party of China central propaganda department and the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television, state news agency Xinhua reported on Friday, and told to get in line with tightening policies that have been aired at national level.
Representatives of satellite broadcasters in Shanghai, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, and Hunan were told that they have problems, “such as an excessive focus on entertainment, star-chasing and speculation, which must be resolutely rectified.” Xinhua reported that they should “vigorously promote the core values of socialism, focus more on hot topics in the new era [under China’s President leader Xi Jinping], and focus on its fighters and workers.” The broadcasters in Jiangsu, Zhejiang, and Hunan have until recently been among the country’s most lively.
MALAYSIA’S MAN AT THE TOP
Malaysia’s National Film Development Council (FINAS) has appointed Md Nasir Ibrahim as its new chief executive. His two-year term begins immediately. He replaces Ahmad Idham Ahmad Nadzri who oversaw part of the Creative Industry Immediate Economic Action Plan and the Malaysian Creative Capacity Enhancement Program. The Malaysian film and TV industries were badly hit by the coronavirus pandemic as policies kept cinemas repeatedly closed for months at a time and imposed temporary restrictions on production.
North American distributor Syndicado has acquired global rights to COVID-19 documentary thriller “The Curve” and will launch sales this week at the American Film Market (AFM). Directed and produced by Oscar nominated filmmaker Adam Benzine (“Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah”), the film covers the first 90 days of America’s COVID outbreak, examining the role of the U.S. government at the start of the crisis.
The documentary, which was made in secret during the first lockdown, features a blend of VFX, archival footage, news coverage and original interviews. Syndicado will launch a revamped, 59 minute version of the documentary for global buyers at AFM, under the broadcast title “The Curve: 90 Days That Changed America.”
Separately, Israel-based Film Platform has acquired the educational rights for “The Curve,” and will offer it to academic institutions globally beginning this fall.