As the Busan IFF heads towards its closing weekend and awards ceremonies, the effects of threatened protests in what’s been an annus horribilis for the event, seem to have inflicted less damage on the industry-focused events than last week’s Typhoon Chaba inflicted on the festival’s planned beach programme (pictured, above).
As has been widely reported, a number of the major Korean distributors either stayed away or limited their involvement in Busan’s Asian Film Market (AFM) this year, not launching their 2017 catalogues and not throwing the sort of parties they have in previous years.
AFM organisers claim the event has had a pretty normal year.
In the market-closing release, organisers note “multiple sales” for Korean titles including Train to Busan, although it’s hard to imagine that title had many territories left to sell after its huge success.
Organisers also rejigged the way the market and figures were organised this year, making it difficult to make direct comparisons with last year’s numbers. One shouldn’t assume it’s all been in an effort to disguise the facts, as the event organisers have been under considerable strain with budgets and local participation levels unclear until very recently. Last year, there was a concerted stay away from events in Korea and Japan by the Chinese amid tensions over disputed islands in the South China Sea.
The market saw 157 companies from 24 nations on 62 stands, “consistent with last year’s participation”. Organisers claimed 3,000 visitors each day, although attendees noted a considerable drop off after the first two days.
42 companies from 13 countries presented screenings of 63 films.
The recently-introduced E-IP saw PARK Yeon-sun’s book Summer, A Corpse from Nowhere picked up for adaptation on the first day, with other titles including 49 Days Farewell also doing production deals. Several of China’s online players, including Alibaba and Wanda were looking for projects at the market.
As the market closed, nine winners of the Asian Project Market (APM) and Entertainment Intellectual Property (E-IP) Market were announced. Of the international projects taking awards, Love and Vengeance took the headline Busan award. The project is from Indonesian director Edwin, whose Berlinale-premiered Postcards from the Zoo travelled well on the festival and arthouse circuits in 2012.
NEANG Kavich’s Cambodia-France co-pro White Building was the only multiple award-winner, taking the cash prizes sponsored by Korea’s CJ Entertainment and France’s ARTE.
The Busan International Film Festival closes 15 October.