Udine's Far East Film Festival wrapped its ninth edition Saturday
as organizers lauded the growth and appeal of a once niche festival
that has edged its way to become Europe's most complete sampling of
Asian cinema.

The non-competitive festival announced audience award -winners
Saturday night. South Korean noir title No Mercy For The Rude directed
by Park Chul-hee, 'the story of a sous chef who becomes a killer in
order to finance an operation to his tongue,' took first place.

Hong Kong director Patrick Tam's After This Our Exile received the second
number of votes. Exile marks Tam's return to film making after a
seventeen-year hiatus.

Third place was handed to Japanese director Tetsuya Nakashima for Memories of Matsuko - 'a film that valorises love despite many signs that indicate the contrary.'

For its 10th edition in 2008, the festival will continue to focus on
what organizers are calling 'Fareastwood' a reference to the fest's
ability to attract Asia's top talents: both actors and directors.

Some high profile actors and actresses at this year's edition included
Korea's megastar and acclaimed actress Kim Hye-soo in A Day For An
Affair; Joyce E. Bernal's spy comedy Agent X44 was presented by the
Philippines' own 'Jim Carrey' Vhong Navarro while up and coming Thai
actress Siraphan Wattanajinda was present to promote The Unseeable in
the fest's Horror Day sidebar.

Directors such as Patrick Tam (who was honored in a retrospective of
his work) and Shiota Akihiko (who kicked off the fest with his mega
blockbuster Dororo) and Chinese director Teng Huatao (The Matrimony)
were also on hand to promote their films.

The fest also highlighted panels by Venice Film Festival director
Marco Muller and Jeremy Segay of Cannes' Director's Fortnight.

The festival began in 1999 after a 1998 Hong Kong retrospective was so
successful that organizers branched out. In its ninth edition, the
festival ran 51 films from China, Hong Kong, Japan, Philippines, South
Korea, Thailand, Taiwan and Malaysia.

The audience was made up of 50,000 attendees and 18,000 tickets were sold (for
reserved evening screenings only, the remainder were free).

Organisers also noted that 1,000 DVDs were sold in the fest's nine-day run. (In 2006, the fest began publishing Asian DVDs for the Italian market with Ripley's

Organizers also said the fest is almost entirely self-financed, with
25% of their budget stemming from ticket sales.