The 15th Pusan International Film Festival (PIFF) closed with the New Currents Award going ex-aequo to two Korean films - Park Jung-Bum’s The Journals of Musan and Yoon Sung-Hyun’s Bleak Night.

At the press conference Friday (Oct 15) for the Closing, retiring festival co-director Kim Dong-ho said, “This year’s festival has achieved growth in substance and quality. The number of selected films went down by about 50 and the number of theatre seats went down by about 50,000, but audiences increased and we’ve had a high response rate. Operational have stablised, too and it’s been an edition that has shown potential.”

The fest had a total of 182,046 admissions, up from 173,516 last year. (See below for full statistics.)

Looking to the fest’s future, Kim Dong-ho noted, “Next year, the PIFF Festival Center will be completed and it will signify a new era for PIFF which will open with more focus on Asian films. At the same time, PIFF will need to establish an incorporated foundation and funds for stable finances for the festival.”

Kim went on to thank festival-goers, guests and press for this year’s success and answered questions about his future that he would be willing to help PIFF in any way – whether as an honorary fest director as festival chairman Hur Nam-shik suggested at his farewell party, or otherwise. He also said that after executive producing PIFF Closing Film Camellia, he preferred to try his hand at directing, possibly a documentary on the masters of cinema.

Awards praise

New Currents jury head Wada Emi praised The Journals of Musan, the portrayal of a North Korea defector’s struggle to survive in South Korean society for its “amazing scenario, great ability of the film director, good cinematography”. Director Park also played the lead. The film also picked up the FIPRESCI Award.

The jury lauded teenage boy drama Bleak Night for its well-structured storytelling, acting and noted the director’s abundant future potential.

The Flash Forward Award for non-Asian films went to the Swedish film Pure, written and directed by Lisa Langbeth. The jury lauded the film for being “bold, risky and high energy while featuring an amazing performance by a young actress that can carry a film with conviction and power”.

The Flash Forward jury also gave a Special Mention to Marek Lechki’s Polish film Erratum.

The PIFF Mecenat Award for Best Korean Documentary went to Lee Hyuk-sang’s Miracle On Jongno Street for its “excellent craft and storytelling in addressing issues of social justice for the LGBT community in Korea”.

The PIFF Mecenat Award for Best Asian Documentary went to Guo Hengqi’s Chinese film New Castle which the jury praised as “a courageous film which brings dignity to the people it observces, despite the difficulties of their daily lives. Skillfully films and edited by a first-time director”.

The NETPAC Award went to Zhang Lu’s Dooman River (Korea) with a Special Mention to Jeon Kyu-hwan’s Dance Town (Korea). Both films deal with issues surrounding North Korean defectors.

The KNN Movie Award, the audience award for the most popular New Currents film, went to Lu Yang’s Chinese film My Spectacular Theatre.

The Korean Cinema Today – ‘Vision’ Award’s Best Director went to Min YongKeun for his Re-encounter, while Best Actor went to Park Hyukwon’s Read My Lips, and Best Actress went to Rah Miran for Dance Town.

PIFF Final Statistics


Total admissions: 182,046

Accredited Guests (Press excl.): 7,130

- Korea         3,784

- Overseas   906

- Cinephiles 1,651

- Asian Film Market           789

Press: 2,237

- Korea: 1,804

- Overseas: 433


Number of Films: 306

 - World Premier: 101

 - International Premier: 52

Asian Film Market          

Sales Office: 4,551 sales offices from 108 companies of 26 countries

Number of Films: 39 (22 Market Premieres)

Number of Screenings: 47

4) Online Screenings: 186 films registered, 240 people have watched a total of 1,652 times