Busan’s 7th Asian Film Market closed its four-day run yesterday at the Busan Exhibition Convention Center (BEXCO) with Royston Tan’s [pictured] 69 winning the Asian Project Market’s Busan Award.

A total of 1,098 market badge holders from 690 companies attended, up from last year’s 1,080 badge holders from 583 companies. Organisers reported about 70 deals including titles such as Masquerade, The Thieves and Paganini: The Devil’s Violinist and “a significant increase” in market screening from 64 to 80 year-on-year, and 281 online screenings.

Although attendees echoed opinions of previous years that it is a good place to meet people but often deals are closed later at TIFFCOM or AFM, several deals were also struck at the Asian Film Market this year, and certain expectations turned on their heads.

“This is my first time here and I was pre-warned that it is great if you have an Asian film, but I had a Canadian film. We were imagining we’d make contact here and close later, but managed to close a deal to Korea here in addition to meeting buyers from Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong,” says Filmoption International vice president of Distribution and Sales Andrew Noble.

Filmoption sold The Good Lie by Shawn Linden, which world premiered in the World Cinema selection, to Priya for Korea.

“The screenings here are brilliant, the audiences amazing, and the venues fantastic. It’s all very well organised. The buyer was in the festival screening audience and the audience adored it. All three screenings were packed. It makes a huge difference to have a distributor see the film that way. We had no such expectations – we had hoped but mostly were just counting on this to lead up to AFM. But now we will proceed with a little confidence in the back pocket,” he said.

The European Film Promotion (EFP) also announced a slew of deals from their umbrella stand (see separate story).

“We talked to our sales agents and they are all very satisfied with this year’s Asian Film Market,” said EFP Film Sales Support staff Cornelia Klimkeit. “It was good to follow up meeting from Toronto here. A lot of deals were struck or almost completed. Some will follow up at AFM after initiating negotiations here but many were completed or almost completed here.”

“What’s very interesting is that Memories Corner from last year, closed a deal to Japan after the market and this year will be released there by Medalien Media. But it isn’t just films in the festival that can sell here and so it’s worthwhile for our sellers to return,” she said.

Other deals reported to organisers include Korean sales company CJ Entertainment selling Deranged, Spellbound, Perfect Number and Masquerade to Twin for Japan. The last film also sold to Joy N Contents for Thailand. Amongst other Korean companies, Indiestory sold Dancing Cat and Mother to Agaligo for Thailand, and Mirovision sold Japanese Oscar entry and BIFF selection Our Homeland to Edko for Hong Kong. The company also sold fest title Melo to Sundream for Hong Kong.

US sales company CMG (Cinema Management Group) sold Creature and No Tell Motel to JNCG for Korea and Still to SYcomad for Korea. Zambezia, Khumba and The Collection also sold to Westec for Cambodia.

France’s Celluloid Dreams/Nightmares sold Outrage Beyond to Maywin Media for Russia as well as 10 films’ VOD rights to China.

The market closed with a raft awards including the new Technicolor Asia Award and the Arte Award. See below for full list.

Asian Project Market (APM) Winners List

(Award/Winner/Project title)

Busan Award ($20,000) - Royston Tan, 69

Kodak Award (KW20m worth of negative film) – Juhn Jaihong, Café Flower

CJ Entertainment Award ($10,000) – Yang Ya-Che, The Rouge-sang de Chine

Lotte Award (KW10m) – Kim Tae Yong, The Movieteller (working title)

PanStar Cruise Award (KW10m) - Teddy Soeriaatmadja, An Innocent Trip to New York

KOCCA Award (KW19m) -   Min Kyu-dong, Lucky Boy (working title)

Technicolor Asia Award ($25,000 worth of post-production services) - Mohsen Abdolvahab et al., Persian Gulf

International Relations Arte Prize (€6,000) - Park Jung-bum, Pawel