The 13th Pusan International Film Festival (PIFF) wraps tonight (Oct 10) with the top New Currents Award going ex aequo to Roh Gyeong-tae's Land Of Scarecrows and Masahide Ichii's Naked Of Defenses.

Headed by actress/filmmaker Anna Karina, the New Currents Jury for first and second feature films from Asia lauded Land Of Scarecrows as a 'very powerful and touching film' about a collection of isolated people, including a transgendered woman.

The jury praised Naked Of Defenses, a film about a childless woman who meets a pregnant woman in a factory, as a well-directed and well-narrated film that 'comes from the heart' with an unusual style and realistically portrayed characters.

Special Mentions went to Baek Seung-bin's Members Of The Funeral for its 'wonderful characters with their own vivid identity' and 'the director's splendid imagination and his experimentation'; and Jin Yang's Er Dong for its innovative style, purity of story, and documentary-like realism on portraying the challenges in modern China.

Awarded by a jury including producer Kim Jho Gwangsoo, the Sonje Award also went ex aequo to Andong, directed by Rommel Tolentino, who 'excavated a truthful story from the midst of a city dumpsite and told it with witty humor and brilliant performances' and Hong Sunghoon's Girl which has 'a precise and subtle mise en scene' while letting the audience 'free-flow into the secrets of the human heart'.

Continuing on the trend of ties, the PIFF Mecenat Award, with a jury including former KOFIC chairperson An Jeong-sook, went to Kazuhiro Soda's Mental, which draws 'the curtain between normality and what normality calls abnormality', and Lee Chung Ryoul's Old Partner, which portrays the 40-year relationship between an old farmer and a bull.

The FIPRESCI award went to Ye Zhao's Jalainur and the NETPAC award went, again ex aequo, to Members Of The Funeral and Kim So Yong's Treeless Mountain. The KNN Audience award went to Chris Martinez's 100.

Boasting its highest attendance record ever at 198,818 admissions (the last record was 198,603 in 2007), PIFF screened a record 315 films from 60 countries. The 827 screenings ran in 37 screening rooms in six theatres including the Haeundae Megabox and Nampo-dong Busan Theatre.

The festival saw nine accidents with its film projections for films including The Sky Crawlers and Gomorrah for which PIFF provided refunds and extra screenings.

Guests complained about the separated screening venues - Haeundae and Nampo-dong are about an hour apart by car - although the new night-time market screenings were popular with those who had meetings all day long.

The Asian Film Academy (AFA) workshop ran Sept 25 -11, with Hou Hsaio-hsien as dean, Park Ki-Yong as deputy dean, and Brillante Mendoza and Arthur Wong as mentors, resulting in two short films: One Last Good-Bye and Letters from White Mountain which screened yesterday at the AFA graduation ceremony.

The Asia Pacific Actors Network (APAN) held its second annual conference with about 115 actors and actresses including Ahn Sung-ki, Aaron Yoo and Kelly Lin, and ten casting directors and agents from agencies such Chengtian and SM Entertainment.

Ticketing issues seemed ameliorated this year. Aside from the split venues and projection incidents, guests commonly complained of the difficulty in grasping the focus of the sprawling programming which did a good job of discovering new films (133 world and international premieres) but could benefit from more sectioning off into different categories or showcases.