Korean feature This Charming Girl took home the top prize in the PusanInternational Film Festival's New Currents section for first and second-timeAsian directors.
The film by LeeYun-ki is a restrained portrait of a socially isolated woman who works in asmall post office. Probably the most well-received among a small handful ofKorean premieres, the LJ Film production has reportedly elicited interest fromseveral top European festivals.
A SpecialMention was given to Malaysian director Ho Yuhang's Sanctuary, about a family pulled apart by economicand social forces. Other awardspresented included the FIPRESCI prize for best new Asian film to the Chineselow-budget digital film Soap Opera by Wu Er-shan, and the NETPAC prize for best Koreanfilm to Kim Ki-duk's 3-Iron.
The PSB Audience Award, for the most popular among theten films in the New Currents section, went to Japanese feature SurviveStyle 5+ by Gen Sekiguchi,which drew forth wildly diverging opinions from viewers for its focus onbizarre and stylish visuals.
This year's edition of PIFF saw a continued influx ofindustry guests from Asia and other parts of the world, particularly during thefirst three days when project market the Pusan Promotion Plan (PPP) tookplace.
Although the level of international participationconfirmed the event's importance to Asian film industries, questions continuedto be raised about the festival's ability to keep up with the pace of itsgrowth. Like last year, foreignguests continued to complain about difficulties in procuring tickets, with manyshows selling out only minutes after tickets became available.
A conclusive solution to the problem seems likely toemerge only in 2008, with the construction of a large dedicated festival centre.The centre's additional screens will also allow for the festival to movecompletely to the seaside district of Haeundae, which currently houses abouthalf of its screenings.
A total of 166,164 tickets were issued during thefestival to a total 262 films from 63 countries.
This year also saw the introduction of CJ Collection,under which Korean major CJ Entertainment will select five Asian films from thefestival programme to distribute locally through its leading multiplex chainCGV. This year's selections were MyBeautiful Washing Machine(Malaysia) by James Lee, Splendid Float (Taiwan) by Zero Chou, Duel (Iran) by Ahmad Reza, South of theClouds (China) by Zhu Wen,and The Hunter(Japan/Kazakhstan) by Serik Aprymov.
Meanwhile festival organisers are planning majoradditions for next year's 10th anniversary edition, with a greatly expandedbudget and several educational and industry initiatives currently underconsideration.