The 14th Pusan International Film Festival (PIFF) will screen a record 355 films from 70 countries, including with 98 world premieres and 46 international premieres.
Held in South Korea’s second-largest city, the festival will open October 8 with local director Jang Jin’s comedy Good Morning President, starring heartthrob Jang Dong-gun (The Promise), and close October 16 with Chinese thriller The Message, co-directed by Chen Kuo-fu and Gao Qunshu.
“Although other major festivals had to reduce their size because of the global economic crisis, we were able to invite a record number of films thanks to increased support from Pusan city and our sponsors,” said fest director Kim Dong-ho.
The festival is continuing on its quest to discover and introduce Asian cinema as well as support the industry with its Asian Cinema Fund and projects market PPP – both previously announced.
In addition to its New Currents competition for new Asian directors, PIFF has also launched the new Flash Forward competition for non-Asian filmmakers bringing their first or second features (see lists below).
A Window on Asian Cinema will screen 53 films from 23 countries, with world/international premieres including Kobayashi Masahiro’s A White Night, Cheng Wen-tang’s Tears and Woo Ming Jin’s Woman On Fire Looks for Water.
The World Cinema section will screen 96 films from 52 countries, including Costa Gavras’ Eden Is West and Piotr Dumala’s The Forest from Poland.
The local films in the Korean Cinema Today section and across the board are marked by “expansion and humour” according to Korean programmer Lee Sang-yong, who explained that in the midst of financial difficulties the local industry has found ways to make more innovative films that “reach out to communicate with the masses.”
These include several second features from filmmakers with noted debuts. Lee Song Hee-il (No Regrets) has Break Away, Park Chan-ok (Jealousy Is My Middle Name) has Paju, and Kim Tai-sik (Driving With My Wife’s Lover) has Tokyo Taxi in the fest.
Guests include Josh Hartnett and Lee Byung-hun featuring in Tran Anh Hung’s I Come With The Rain, Bryan Singer as producer of Trick ‘r Treat, and French director Jean-Jacques Beineix as head of the New Currents jury.
Special sections with visiting guests will include retrospectives on Johnnie To, Filipino independent cinema and Italian horror master Dario Argento.
A retrospective on late director Ha Kil-chong’s films will also screen along with the works of Arthur Penn, his professor from UCLA, which will be in a New American Cinema retrospective.
The festival has also added commemorative retrospectives for the recently deceased local director Yu Hyun-mok and actress Jang Jin-young.
The Asian Film Market will host 72 companies from 22 countries opening 44 sales offices in the Seacloud Hotel. Registered buyers include China’s Bona International, France’s Celluloid Dreams, India’s Star Entertainment and Japan’s SPO.
Full Competition Line-up Lists:
Dead Slowly (Hong Kong) Rita Hui
I’m in Trouble! (Korea) So Sang-min
Kick Off (Iraq) Shawkat A. Korki
Lan (China) Jiang Wenli
Lost Paradise in Tokyo (Japan) Shiraishi Kazuya
A Man Who Ate Cherries (Iran) Payman Haghani
Mundane History (Thailand) Anocha Suwichakornpong
My Daughter (Malaysia) Charlotte Lim Lay Kuen
Paju (Korea) Park Chan-ok
Squalor (Philippines) Giuseppe Bede Sampedro
True Noon (Tajikstan) Nosir Saidov
The Well (India) Umesh Vinayak Kulkarni
Bridges (Argentina) Julian Giulianelli
Chicago Heights (US/Korea) Daniel Nearing
Cosmonauta (Italy) Susanna Nichiarelli
Dust (Luxembourg/Austria) Max Jacoby
The Frost (Spain/Norway) Ferran Audi
The Kino Caravan (Romania/Germany) Titus Muntean
Last Cowboy Standing (Finland/Germany) Zaida Bergroth
The Loners (Israel) Renen Schorr
Magma (France) Pierre Vinour
Miss Kicki (Sweden/Taiwan) Hakon Liu
Zero (Poland) Pawel Borowski