Malaysian drama Love Conquers All, directed by Tan ChuiMui, and Chinese director Heng Yang's Betelnutwere jointly awarded Best New Asian Filmmaker of the Year at the PusanInternational Film Festival (PIFF) on Friday night (Oct 20).

The $30,000 award ispresented to the best film in New Currents, which is the only competitivesection of the festival. The five-person jury, headed by Istvan Szabo, selectedBetelnut for its "new cinematicvalue, great acting from all the cast, powerful picture and beautiful silentmoments."

The film, which is Yang's featuredebut, follows two delinquent teenagers over the course of one summer.

Love Conquers All, also a debut effort that won support from the Hubert Bals Fund, waspraised for "using a known cinematic language in a nice way to tell the life ofa village girl who is going to a big city to work and face the reality andmorality of our time."

The film was also awardedthe prize of the FIPRESCI jury for its "audacious narrative structure and itsintelligent work with sound and image."

The NETPAC award - which ispresented to the best Korean film in Korean Cinema Today - Vision, New Currentsand Critics' Choice - went to Roh Gyeong Tae's The Last Dining Table.

The KNN Audience Award,given to the most popular film in New Currents, went to Vietnamese feature The White Silk Dress, directed by HuynhLuu.

This year's PIFF screened 245films from 63 countries, compared to a record 307 films last year in thefestival's tenth edition, and drew 162,835 admissions.

As PIFF grows in size, thisyear with the addition of the Asian Film Market, it has run into someorganisational glitches - particularly in the area of ticketing. But thefestival is striving to improve infrastructure and plans to move into the $70mlocal government-backed PIFF Centre by 2010.

In addition to the awards,it was announced that local distributor CJ Entertainment had picked up fiveAsian films for theatrical and DVD release as part of its "CJ Collection"venture. The films are Chinese director Ning Hao's Crazy Stone, which closes the festival tonight, Wool 100% (Tominaga Mai/Japan), Illusion (Paolo Villaluna, EllenRamos/The Philippines), Rain Dogs (HoYuhang/Malaysia) and My Mother Is A BellyDancer (Lee Kung Lok/Hong Kong).

The festival also announceda collaboration with JoongAng Broadcasting Corporation (see separate story).


New Currents (Best New AsianFilmmaker of the Year)
Betelnut - Heng Yang/China
Love Conquers All - Tan Chui Mui/Malaysia

Korean Cinema Award:
Martial Knaebel - festival director, Fribourg International Film Festival
Terawaki Ken - former director-general, Cultural Affairs Department of Japan

Asian Filmmaker of the Year:
Andy Lau

Love Conquers All - Tan Chui Mui/Malaysia

NETPAC award:
The Last Dining Table - Roh GyeongTae/Korea

KNN Audience Award:
The White Silk Dress - HuynhLuu/Vietnam

Sunje Fund:
The Wind Stirs - Lee Jin-woo
Portfolio - Yoon Seoungho

Special Mention:
Merry Christmas - Choi Young-jun

Woonpa Fund:
People Crossing TheRiver - Kim Duk-chul
Our School - Kim Myeong-joon