Running concurrently to the Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival (PiFan), the four-day 'It Project'event isAsia's first projects marketto focus specifically on genre films.
US director Frank Lin's hip-hop sci-fi project Ø DB took the leading Bucheon Award of KW10m ($9,840). Three more prizes of the same amount went to Kim Jin-won's occult video game movie The Devils (the PiFan Award); Chang Hyung-yun's animation My Girlfriend Is A Brindled Cow (the NAFF Award), and Zhang Yong's horror film project Bomb Shelter (the XTM Extreme Project Award).
'Everyone is looking for entertaining genre projects, and this gathering really delivers. The selection was excellent, the filmmakers all very accessible and the projects all well-thought-out,' commented Elliot Tong, a producer at Beijing-based Ying Dong Media which is currently producing Disney pick-up Touch Of The Panda.
Post-Production Support awards (for editing, sound and CGI) also went to Xie Dong's 206 Speed Delivery, Nathan Adolfson's The Help, Kim Hong-suk's Removal, Kevin Ko's Starstruck, and Kim's The Devils.
The NAFF Jury was made up active professionals in the field - Tom Quinn, senior vice president of the US' Magnolia Pictures; Japanese director Takashi Shimizu; producer and festival advisor Roger Garcia from the US, and Korean producer Romeo Noh.
Jury and project participants alike showed enthusiasm for the unique evaluation system, which involved each jury member meeting and interviewing the filmmakers.
Garcia said: 'It was intense doing 19 meetings in three days, but it's a good system for actually seeing what the filmmakers are like and what they could be capable of. There was less pressure than if we [the jury] all interviewed them together, and inevitably, a bit of an exchange of ideas which will hopefully help them with the realisation of their projects.'
In the afternoons from July 20-22, the 19 It Projects saw over 200 official meetings (outside of jury meetings) with 168 industry professionals from 13 countries. The four most popular projects with over 20 meetings each were Ø DB, Removal, Starstruck, and Wee Li Lin's wedding video stalker project Forever.
Prizewinner Lin said: 'It was an amazing opportunity to talk to people one-on-one and also get feedback.'
NAFF also held industry screenings, roundtable forums, and the Fantastic Film School.
Stephan Holl, managing director of Germany's Rapid Eye Movies said: 'We handle dozens of genre films a year so PiFan's a perfect place to look for potential pick-ups and also a good place for networking.'
Gilbert Lim of Sahamongkol, who was screening in the festival and industry sections, said: 'I've had lots of good meetings with non-Asian companies. We do a lot of fantastic and action films so this is a great place for us. It has good potential for co-productions - and delicious food!' referring to one of the extra curricular delights the fest has to offer late into the night.
'I like the intimacy of Puchon and NAFF and the fact that there weren't so many official parties and obligations so you could be more fluid planning your day,' Tong added, voicing another common sentiment about the easy networking atmosphere.
NAFF also ran its own video room - the Cinelodge - where participants could watch It Project directors' previous works, all 37 of the Industry Screening films, and 30 shorts by the directors taking part in the Fantastic Film School.
Honey Lee, NAFF Industry Program manager admitted: 'We're still working out the first year kinks, but we're hoping to get the word out for next year that this is a useful and interesting place to come to.'