Winners at the 2023 Asian Project Market

Source: APM

Winners at the 2023 Asian Project Market

Rafael Manuel’s Filipinana and Jiang Xiaoxuan’s To Kill A Mongolian Horse won multiple prizes at the Asian Project Market (APM), while the top Busan Award went to Ahmed Yassin Al Daradj’s Madness And Honey Days

The 26th edition of the project market wrapped yesterday after running for four days from October 7-10 alongside the Asian Contents & Film Market (AFCM).

Filipinana was presented with a trio of awards at the closing ceremony of APM: the TAICCA Award, ArteKino International Award and Kongchak Studio Award. This first feature of Filipino director Manuel is an expansion of his award-winning short film of the same name.

It follows a tee-girl who works at a driving range which is only for the privileged and gets infatuated with the country club’s 60-year-old president, only to discover invisible violence behind the pristine facade.

It is set up as a Singapore-UK-Philippines co-production by producer Jeremy Chua from Singapore, who is the lead producer of Vietnamese film Inside The Yellow Cocoon Shell, winner of Cannes Camera d’Or this year

To Kill A Mongolian Horse took the VIPO award and the Sorfond award at APM. Inspired by the true story of a friend of Inner Mongolia-born Chinese director Jiang, this first feature is about a herder who has been selling his flock of sheep and started a new job performing ticks on horseback for tourists as he grapples with the disintegration of the traditional way of life.

The top Busan Award winner, Madness And Honey Days, is a dark comedy about a young theatre director who has to convince the court about his insanity in order to avoid the death penalty after offending President Saddam Hussein live on stage. Iraqi-UK director Al Daradj’s first feature Hanging Gardens screened at Venice and Busan last year.

APM is a key industry platform of ACFM, which also has Busan Story Market for IP content under one roof alongside the sales market at the Busan Exhibition & Convention Centre (BEXCO).

This year, ACFM was shifted to hall 1 (from hall 2) of BEXCO. Market visitors generally found that the new venue seems to be on a slightly bigger floor space, but it also made them feel that fewer were seen walking up and down the aisles.

Sales companies such as iQiyi from China, BHD from Vietnam and MandarinVision from Taiwan were happy with the number of appointments they had secured. Many buyers from Asia have returned and new buyers from Columbia and the US were also spotted.

The Asian film industry is not totally back on its feet post-pandemic. Korea, for example, had only recovered 60% from the Covid damage and has a backlog of almost 100 unreleased films, according to KOFIC chair Park Ki-yong in an interview with Screen. This may reflect the general sentiments in most Asian countries, which made the buyers cautious when it came to acquiring new titles at ACFM.

Filmbridge from Mongolia, however, continues its acquisition mode and has booked a dozen of titles on-site, including Showbox’s highly anticipated horror film Exhuma, Contents Panda’s Handsome Guys, the Korean remake of Tucker & Dale vs Evil, and Lotte’s About Family as well as a string of animated features from Sola Media and Studio 100.