The film city of Busan, Korea paved way for another successful year for the prestigious Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) from Oct. 8 to 16, 2009. The Philippines, once again, made big waves in this year’s festival.
In its 14th year, BIFF has truly evolved to become one of the most important film festivals that filmmakers, film professionals, cinephiles, and the general film audience look forward to every October. For this year, 355 films from 70 countries (a record number) were shown – a total of 803 screenings for the festival. 98 of the films were world premieres and 46 films were international premieres – a total of 144 world and international premieres (another record number). And more than two dozen of Filipinos attended BIFF with the country having around two dozen of films shown at the festival’s various programs.
Included in the BIFF official statistics were a number of fully-packed film events: 6 Master Classes, 2 Hand Printings, 14 Seminars, 3 Open Talks, 8 Audience Meet and Greets, 12 Meet the Guest: Talk to Talks, 7 teams of Cinema Together, 13 Press Conferences, and 188 Individual Interviews.
Filipinos at the Festival
The “Philippine Night” was held at the Grand Hotel in Haeundae, Busan last Oct. 12 and was attended by the Philippine delegation which included some of the filmmakers with films at the festival, the Film Development Council of the Philippines, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, the Philippine Embassy in Korea, and other festival guests.
A partial list of Filipino attendees included: Raymond Red, filmmaker; Doy del Mundo, National Commission for Culture and the Arts, filmmaker; Ed Cabagnot, Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival; GB Sampedro, filmmaker; Jim Libiran, filmmaker; Nestor Jardin, Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival; Tikoy Aguiluz, Cinemanila International Film Festival; Borgy Torre, filmmaker; Maria Isabel Lopez, Actress; Nick De Ocampo, filmmaker; Vicky Belarmino, Cultural Center of the Philippines; Rianne Hill Soriano, filmmaker; and LA Yamsuan, filmmaker.
Philippine Films at the Festival
New Currents Section
“Astig” (Squalor) by GB Sampedro
Special Mention, New Currents Award
A Window on Asian Cinema
“Yanggaw” (Affliction) by Richard Somes
“Bakal Boys” (Children Metal Divers) by Ralston Jover
“Lola” by Brillante Mendoza
Wide Angle – Asian Short Film Competition
“Bonsai” by Borgy Torre
Wide Angle – Short Film Showcase 3
“Blogog” by Rommel Tolentino
Asian Film Academy (AFA) 2009
“An Encounter in the Woods” (AFA workshop film for BIFF with Rianne Hill Soriano and 12 other young Asian filmmakers)
“A Girl” (AFA workshop film for BIFF with LA Yamsuan and 12 other young Asian filmmakers)
Special Programs in Focus – Asian Feature Animation Special – Ani Asia!: A Leap of Asian Feature Animation 4
“Dayo” (The Wanderer in the Land of Elementalia) by Robert Quilao
Pusan Promotion Plan (PPP) Participating Project
“Happyland” by Jim Libiran
Filipino Independent Film Special – Mabuhay! Pinoy Indi-Cinema!
The festival presented a Filipino independent film special as part of the Special Programs in Focus to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Korea and the Philippines. It was acknowledged as a meaningful opportunity to take a genealogical journey of Filipino indie films, including those from the 1950’s and the winner of the Best Director Award at the Cannes International Film Festival 2009. This special program offered a rich selection of 14 notable Filipino indie films:
Special Programs in Focus
“Criminal of Barrio Concepcion” by Lav Diaz
“Genghis Khan” by Manuel Conde
“Independencia” by Raya Martin
“Insiang” by Lino Brocka
“Itim” by Mike de leon
“Kinatay” by Brillante Mendoza
“Manila by Night” by Ishmael Bernal
“Oliver” by Nick Deocampo
“Passionate Strangers” by Eddie Romero
“Perfumed Nightmare” by Kidlat Tahimik
“Sakay” by Raymond Red
“Woman of Breakwater” by Mario O’hara
“The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros” by Aureus Solito
“The Road to Kalimugtong” by Mes Guzman
Seminar on Filipino Independent Filmmaking
The Filipino delegation at BIFF provided a seminar about Filipino independent filmmaking. This Filipino independent film special shared the unique ways of low-budget filmmaking in the country including the so-called ‘pito-pito film’ (referring to a film shot in seven days and goes through post-production in another seven days). It also provided a brief history of the country’s indie films and the Filipino filmmakers’ various production methods.
BIFF Fundings, Film Market, Fellowships, and Awards
Asian Film Academy (AFA)
Annually, 24 young filmmakers from 16 Asian countries are being honed to become “The Future of Asian Cinema” through short film productions, seminars, workshops, one-on-one mentoring sessions, film screenings, meetings, and master classes. This year’s program is led by the AFA Dean Kurosawa Kiyoshi (Japan), along with Deputy Dean Park Ki-yong (Korea), directing mentor Ho Yuhang (Malaysia) and cinematography mentor Mahmoud Kalari (Iran). Two Filipino filmmakers Rianne Hill Soriano and LA Yamsuan were chosen for the AFA fellowship this year.
Asian Film Market
A total of 534 companies from 42 countries participated this year. There were 45 sales offices from 75 companies of 25 countries and a total of 50 market screenings (including 40 market premieres) of 43 films.
Asian Cinema Fund: New AND Distribution Fund to support documentary filmmakers
The AND Distribution Fund was newly set up to support distribution of documentary films that have difficulty in being exhibited in theaters.
Support of acquisition (Asian documentary)
- “Beautiful Islands” by Kana Tomoko (Japan)
- “Bilal” by Sourave Sarangi (India/Finland)
Support of distribution (Korean documentary)
- “The Border City” by HONG Hyungsook
Pusan Promotion Plan (PPP)
The 12th Pusan Promotion Plan shared the venue with the Asian Film Market at the Seacloud Hotel, Haeundae Beach as a convenient one-stop shop for film business professionals. Since 1998, PPP has introduced many talented Asian filmmakers and offered wide opportunities for investment and co-production by global film industry professionals. 30 projects from 21 countries, including Jim Libiran’s film project Happyland, participated this year.
Pusan Award: “Decadent Sisters” by Aoyama Shinji (Japan)
Kodak Award: “Trace” by Han Jae-rim (Korea)
Göteborg Film Festival Fund: “Postcards from the Zoo” by Edwin (Indonesia)
CJ Award: “Slightly Sane” by Pan Nalin (India/France)
Lotte Award: “Villain and Widow” by Son Jae-gon (Korea)
Wooridul Award: “New Policemen Stories” by Yang Jin (Hong Kong, China)
KPIF (Korean Producers In Focus) Award (Prime Choice): “Good-bye Again” by producer Kim Young-jin
14th Pusan International Film Festival Award Winners
New Currents Award
Jury: Jean-Jacques Beineix (Head); Kim Hyung-koo, Pen-ek Ratanaruang, Terri Kwan, Yesim Ustaoglu
“Kick Off” by Shawkat Amin Korki (Kurdistan/Iraq/Japan)
“Naneun Konkyeonge Cheohaessda!” (I’m in Trouble!) by So Sang-min (Korea)
Special Mention: “Astig” (Squalor) by GB Sampedro (Philippines)
FIPRESCI (International Federation of Film Critics) Award
Jury: Lee Myunghee, Davide Cazzaro, Borislav Andjelic
“Kick Off” by Shawkat Amin Korki (Kurdistan/Iraq/Japan)
NETPAC (Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema) Award
Jury: Aihara Hiromi, Dang Nhat Min, Kang So-won
“Paju” by Park Chan Ok (Korea)
KNN Movie Award (Audience Award)
“Lan” by Jiang Wenli (China)
Fast Forward Award
Jury: Kang Soo Yeon (Head); Marianne Slot, Alissa Simon, Frédéric Boyer
“Last Cowboy Standing” by Zaida Bergroth, (Finland/Germany)
Special Mention: “Miss Kicki” by Hakon Liu (Sweden/Taiwan)
Sonje Award for Short Films
Jury: Simojukka Ruippo; TATanN Chui Mui; You Ji-tae
“Somewhere Unreached” by Kim Jae-won (Korea)
“Rare Fish” by Basil Vassili Mironer (Singapore/Indonesia)
BIFF Mecenant Award for Documentaries
Jury: Dorothee Wenner, Jane Yu, Ko Young-jae
“Earth’s Woman” by Kwon WooJung (Korea)
“The Other Song” by Saba Dewan (India)