Asia’s largest genre film fest, the Puchon International Film Festival (PiFan) wrapped its third Network of Asian Fantastic Films (NAFF) today with the top Puchon Award for the It Project market going to James Leong’s Camera.

About a surveillance expert who has a camera implanted in his eye to fulfill his obsessive need to record everything while remaining detached from reality, the film sees its protagonist’s entire existence threatened when he takes on a job to watch a femme fatale.

Juror Tim Kwok said, “Camera had all the elements we were looking for – in a strong sense of voice from the director, in the commercial aspect of the narrative, and the integrity of his vision.”

Leong previously co-produced and co-directed three theatrical documentaries including Passabe, about justice and reconciliation in East Timor, which won a grant from the Sundance Institute, was picked up by Arte TV and theatrically release in Singapore. Camera was also one of four awardees of the Singapore Film Commission’s New Feature Film Fund and the first winner of the MDA-Fortissimo Film Development Initiative.

Commenting on the overall quality of the It Projects selection, juror Mike Macari noted, “We thought all the projects were excellent. They all deserved awards.” (Full awards list below.)

Head of NAFF Thomas Nam said, “I think it was very successful this year. We were fortunate to have a collaborative partnership with Taiwan and also Switzerland on the Taiwan Projects Spotlight and the Swiss Design in Hollywood focus for the Fantastic Film School. We had 180 guests from 75 companies from 10 countries participate at the It Project market over 3 and a half days. About 230 official meetings took place, and I noticed more were going on in the Guest Lounge even after the close of the day.”

The 15 It Projects from 8 countries and 4 Taiwanese Project Spotlight teams met with companies including Vertigo Entertainment, Avex, Fortissimo, Showbox, Odin’s Eye Entertainment, Sahamongkol, M-Line Distribution, and those of the jury members – Tim Kwok of Convergence Entertainment, Ichiyama Shozo of Office Kitano, Mike Macari of Macari/Edelstein, and Jonathan Kim of Dyne Films.

“NAFF has really grown with more industry people attending. It’s a very special market for genre films like our project, Camera, and it’s good to have firsthand feedback from industry veterans about the project,” said producer Silvia Wong, who was also at NAFF two years ago with director Li Lin Wee’s project Forever. The black comedy is currently in post-production and due for Singapore release this Oct.

NAFF ran Aug 18-22, parallel to PiFan, which holds its awards tomorrow night (Aug 23) followed by two more days of repeat and surprise screenings.

‘It Project‘ Awards

● Puchon Award - $8,300 (KW10m)

Camera / James Leong / Singapore

● NAFF Award - $4,150 (KW5m)

Smile For Me / Daniel Chan / Hong Kong

● Korea Broadcasting Art School (KBAS) Award - $4,150 (KW5m)  

No Excuse / Kim Guang Tae / Korea

● Gyeonggi Performing and Film Commission Award – $3,320 (KW4m)

Personality Vending Machine / Cho Li / Taiwan

● Post-Production Support Award

AM 11:00 /Shin Terra / Korea

Berandal / Gareth Huw Evans / Indonesia