Next week sees the birth ofthe newest addition to the international film market calendar - the four-dayAsian Film Market (Oct 15-18) - which takes place in the bustling containerport and tourism centre of Busan in South Korea.
As part of the vibrant Pusan International Film Festival (Busanis the new name for the city although the festival has kept the old spelling),the upstart market already has a lot going for it.
PIFF's strong Asian programming has long attractedinternational buyers and festival programmers looking for the latest KoreanWave hit or to unearth an up-and-coming Chinese auteur.
It also doesn't hurt thatthe market is located in a country with one of the most dynamic film productionindustries in
But the "other AFM" issqueezing into an impossibly crowded calendar, between
Organisers stress that the Pusan AFM will have a greater emphasis on Asian productthan these other markets. But
Announced at PIFF last year,the Asian Film Market has evolved from the highly-respected projects market, Pusan Promotion Plan (PPP), which among other things helpedintroduce
For the past six years, PPPhas been supplemented by a small market of mostly Korean sales companies whichset up shop in the Paradise Hotel. Industry delegates appreciated the event forits laid-back atmosphere that allowed for plenty of downtime with filmmakersand distributors, rather than frenzied sales meetings on a trade show floor.
But demand for afully-fledged film market had reached saturation point, according to marketdirector Park Kwang-su. "The PPP grew to become asolid and successful market, which helped to vitalise the Asian film industry,and over time this has resulted in strong demand for a regular film marketwithin PIFF," says Park.
The ambitions of the city of
As the Busancity government has designated the film industry as the city's major industry,and is reinforcing various support policies for the industry,
Therefore the market - whichhas a budget of around $2.5m, half of which comes from the city of
"We especially want tocontribute to the development of the film industry in the pan-Asian region bysupporting co-production and exchange," says Park.
At the time of writing,around 160 sales companies, film commissions and talent agencies were planningto exhibit at the market's main venue, the beach-side Grand Hotel, while thetotal number of participants was expected to reach 2,000. This makes the marketroughly half the size of Hong Kong Filmart, but ithas an immediate advantage in that it has the 10-screen Primus multiplex at itsdisposal, while buyers have grumbled about Filmart'sscattered screening facilities.
The two markets both aim tobecome hubs of the fast-growing pan-Asian film industry, but have slightlydifferent positioning. The
But despite their pan-Asianstance, both markets are also aggressively courting Western sales companieswhich now have to decide whether or not to make a second trip to
"The benefit of attendingthis market in addition to Filmart is that Korea isthe second largest market in Asia in an expanding region of the world and itprovides us with an opportunity to screen and acquire new titles," says Celsiusfounder Thierry Wase-Bailey.
Capitol Films' head of salesEve Schoukroun adds that Pusanis "a great place to meet all the significant distributors throughout Asia" andalso "has a privileged position being close enough to the AFM that one canstart conversations about new and existing films that then, hopefully, developinto a sale at the AFM."
However, proximity to the
"We'd already planned to goto the AFM and can't do both as it takes a lot of time to prepare for amarket," says Virginia Leung of
Indeed, many buyers andsellers see the Pusan AFM shaping up to be anAsia-focused preview to the
Non-Korean sales companiesare also interested to see how the reduction in
As for the Korean sellerswho have to bump up this year to make room for the rest of the world, they'rehoping the new market will give them an opportunity to spend time with overseasbuyers on their home turf.
More than 300 distributorsfrom 22 countries are expected to attend, including Lionsgate,The Weinstein Company and Magnolia Pictures from the
"Usually there are quite afew European buyers at
"It's not easy to spendquality time with your buyers at