The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in partnership with Korea’s Busan Film Commission (BFC) will launch a talent incubator for young Asian filmmakers from across the region.

The details of the “Fly” project were briefly outlined by BFC director Oh Seokgeun [pictured] at the Asian Film Policy Forum (Oct 8-11) in Busan. He spoke from the audience during the ASEAN seminar “Education, Future Realizer”. Oh also serves as the president of Asian Film Commissions Network (AFCNet).

A group of mentors will provide lectures and hands-on training for two groups of 11 talents between the ages of 16 and 24 from across the ten ASEAN member nations and South Korea. The programme will take place from November 12-25 in Davao, Philippines, with additional support from the host country’s Film Development Council of the Philippines and Sapporo’s Screen Authority.

Confirmed mentors include writer-director Lee Moo-young, a former writing collaborator on Park Chan-wook films Joint Security Area and Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance and director of Just Kidding. In-demand feature film soundtrack composer Bang Joon-seok and cinematographer Hwang Gi-seok are also set to attend.

Fly participants will produce two short films during the two-week period following a month and a half of online pre-production. Practical workshops and lectures will also be conducted.

The concept of Fly addresses many of the issues affecting the region, highlighted by the Asian Film Policy Forum seminar, moderated by Korean Academy of Film Arts director Choe Equan. He was joined by Professor Rolando Tolentino from the Philippines, Indonesian filmmaker Edwin and Malaysian filmmaker James Lee.

Tolentino, with agreement from his colleagues, cited the problem of schools putting too much emphasis on technology that will be obsolete in several years rather than appreciation of cinema art. He believed students needed credited transnational education to interface better with Asia and the world.

Edwin followed those comments by stating that while Indonesia’s film industry is now fully-democratised, there was a lack of direction and fostering of talent, with no body over-seeing the links between industry and education. 

Malaysia’s James Lee lamented the lack of “love” for cinema in Malaysia. Despite a wealth of facilities for post-production, Bangkok continues to be the main destination due to its dedication to quality. “Bringing students to other countries for additional training before they graduate could open their eyes,” echoed Lee.