South Korea's Pusan International Film Festival wrapped up its 8th edition on October 10, with prizes in the New Currents section for first and second-time Asian directors going to Taiwanese actor Lee Kang-sheng's directorial debut The Missing and Iranian director Alireza Amini's Tiny Snow Flakes.
A special mention was also presented to Sedigh Barmak's Osama from Afghanistan. The New Currents Jury, headed by Swedish director Jan Troell, praised all of the awarded films for their "freshness of images, emotional depth, and strong human orientation."
Other awards presented included a FIPRESCI Award to Iranian filmmaker Parviz Shahbazi's Deep Breath and the NETPAC Award for best Korean feature to E J-yong's recent box-office sensation Untold Scandal.
This year's festival attracted 165,103 admissions in total for a 83% seat occupancy rate, roughly comparable to last year's level. Over 5,000 foreign and domestic guests crowded the festival proper and associated industry events such as the Pusan Promotion Plan (PPP) and the Busan International Film Comission Showcase (BIFCOM).
The festival's decision to move a significant portion of its activities to the seaside Haeundae district was praised by industry guests for its added convenience, although some missed the frenzied activity of the central Nampo-dong district, which housed fewer screenings than in previous years.
Local horror film Acacia by Park Ki-hyung closed the event, with critics giving the film poor marks during advance screenings.
Awards, 2003 Pusan International Film Festival
New Currents Award
The Missing (Taiwan), dir. LEE Kang-sheng
Tiny Snow Flakes (Iran), dir. Alireza AMINI
Special Mention: Osama (Afghanistan/Japan), dir. Sedigh BARMAK
FIPRESCI Award for new Asian director
Deep Breath (Iran), dir. Parviz SHAHBAZI
NETPAC Award for best Korean feature film
Untold Scandal (S Korea), dir. E J-yong
Special Mention: If You Were Me (S Korea), dir. PARK Kwang-su, YEO Kyun-dong, YIM Soon-rye, PARK Chan-wook, PARK Jin-pyo, JEONG Jae-eun
Sunje Fund Award for best Korean short film
The Spring And The Delight (S Korea), dir. PARK Jung-seon
The Third Tongue (S Korea), dir. SON Kwang-ju
Woonpa Fund award for best Korean documentary
And Thereafter (S Korea), dir. LEE Ho-sup
Youngsan Fund for Korean documentary in pre-production
Taxi Blues (S Korea), dir. CHOI HA Dong-ha
The PSB Audience Award for film in New Currents Section
The Road Taken (S Korea), dir. HONG Ki-seon
Osama (Afghanistan/Japan), dir. Sedigh BARMAK