The 19th Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) has announced 29 projects selected to benefit from Asian Cinema Fund (ACF) 2014, including projects by award-winning directors such as O Muel (Jiseul) and Hannah Espia (Transit).

ACF this year picked 11 projects from Korea and 18 from around the rest of the continent.

Organisers stated ACF got a total of 565 submissions, approximately 30% up from last year. The submissions came from 52 countries including 161 projects from India and 50 from China.

“We think this big increase in submissions is due to the fact that we’ve publicized the ACF a lot, but also possibly because the production environment in Asia has gotten more difficult,” said ACF director Hong Hyosook.

The ACF 2014 Script Development Fund goes to eight projects - three from Korea and five from the rest of Asia. Each will receive a cash grant of KW10m (currently approximately $9,880).

They include projects from filmmakers who previously screened films in Busan like Cambodian-French director Davy Chou, whose Golden Slumbers screened in Wide Angle in 2011 and went on to screen in Berlin and a raft of other festivals around the world.

Also, Hannah Espia, whose Transit competed in New Currents last year and became the Philippines’ entry to the Oscars’ Best Foreign Language Film category, and O Muel [pictured], whose Jiseul won multiple awards at BIFF 2012 and went on to win the Grand Jury Prize in Sundance’s World Cinema Dramatic Competition 2013.

Carlo F. Manatad’s A Wrong Season is an Asian Film Academy (AFA) project and as such, its grant will be funded by Showbox/Mediaplex.

Script Development Fund winners list
1. Diamond Island (Cambodia/France) Davy Chou
2. Hair Of The Dog That Bit You (Sri Lanka) Vimukthi Jayasundara
3. Learning To Build A Fire (Philippines) Hannah Espia
4. One Of Us (Malaysia) Tan Chui Mui
5. A Wrong Season (Philippines) Carlo F. Manatad
6. The Days Not Yet Come (Korea) Sin Yiee Soo
7. Haenyeo (Korea) O Muel
8. Twenty Years Old (Korea) Park Riwoong

Post-Production Fund

The ACF 2014 Post-Production Fund goes to three projects from Korea and four from the rest of Asia.

They include Abu Shahed Emon’s Bangladeshi project Jalal’s Story. “Emon is especially interesting as he is an AFA alumnus who is currently studying film at the Korea National University of Arts. He is part of Boutique Cinema, a collective of seven filmmakers led by Mostofa Sarwar Farooki, whose Television was a Busan closing film. When Television became famous at Busan, they were able to get private funding to encourage young Bangladeshi directors,” said Hong.

She also points out ACF is continuing to support regional Korean films. “Last year, we had Kim Jae-han’s Thuy, from the Masan/Changwon area, and this year we have Shadow Island, from the Busan region,” she said.

Other notables include Korean director Lee Kwang-kuk, whose Romance Joe premiere in Busan and went on to screen at a raft of fests including Rotterdam and New Directors/New Films, and Thai director Kongdej Jaturanrasmee, who wrote the screenplay for Tom Yum Gung and directed films such as P-047 and Midnight My Love.

Also, Zhang Miaoyan’s China-France co-production A Corner Of Heaven was an Asian Project Market (APM) 2012 project. Chinese post-production company Forestt Studio, having joined ACF for the first time this year, will be working on this project.

The other winners will get post-production services from Korean studios including the Korean Film Council (KOFIC), CJ Powercast and newly joined companies The Color and Plusgain.

Post-Production Fund winners list
1. A Corner Of Heaven (China/France) Zhang Miaoyan
2. The Inseminator (Vietnam) Bui Kim Quy
3. Jalal’s Story (Bangladesh) Abu Shahed Emon
4. So Be It (Thailand) Kongdej Jaturanrasmee
5. A Matter Of Interpretation (Korea) Lee Kwang-kuk
6. Shadow Island (Korea) Son Seungung
7. Wild Flowers (Korea) Park Sukyoung

Documentary Fund
The ACF 2014 Asian Network of Documentary (AND) Fund goes to five projects from Korea and nine from the rest of Asia. Selected AND projects each receive a cash grant between KW5m-20m (currently approximately $4,940-$19,770).

“We had a lot of submissions for the AND Fund from places like India and China - large territories with many filmmakers, but also from places we don’t usually get to select like Lebanon and the Philippines, so that was good. In the case of Korea, we had more than 50 submissions - some ordinary stories, and some historical and experimental. There’s a lot of heartbreaking material for documentaries in Korea,” said Hong.

AND Fund winners list
1. Dust (China) Zhao Liang
2. Fatima (Lebanon) Mary Jirmanus Saba
3. Like Ants For Sugar (India) Shirley Abraham
4. Liu’s Rhapsody (China) Li Xiaofeng, Jia Kai
5. Nick And Chai (Philippines) Wena Sanchez, Cha Escala
6. The Priestess Walks Alone (Taiwan) Huang Hui-Zhen
7. Proposition For A Revolution (India) Khushboo Ranka, Vinay Shukla
8. Railway Sleepers (Thailand) Sompot Chidgasornpongse
9. Weaving (China) Wang Yang
10. The Children In Blue (Korea) Jun Sangjin
11. Late Bloomer (Korea) Jang Hee Sun
12. Military Play (Korea) Park Kyung Kun
13. Stains Of Star (Korea) Kim Sung-Min
14. Perfect World (Korea) Han Young Hee

The AND Fund is supported by Youngsan University, Dongseo University, Pusan National University, Dong-Eui University, Busan Bank, BIFF Mecenat, and Supporters of BIFF.

The festival will run Oct 2-11 this year.