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13th PIFF Presents Robust Line-up

2008/09/11 Source

The 13thedition of the Pusan International Film Festival (PIFF) will offer its biggest line-up ever with a total of 315 films from 60 countries screening Oct 2 - 10 in Korea's popular south-eastern port city. Opening the event is The Gift to Stalin, by Kazakh director Rustem Abdrashev, a choice complementing the selection of Kazakh producer Gulnara Sarsenova as recipient of PIFF's 2008 Asian Filmmaker of the Year award.

A Korean film has been named to close this year's fest, the world premier of Yoon Jong-chan's "I Am Happy", a psychiatric drama based on a novel by acclaimed Korean author Lee Cheong-joon. PIFF is putting its weight behind local films this year, and, under the catch-phrase 'Way to Go, Korea!' will host the World Premier of 15 Korean features.

Among those, three Korean films will compete in PIFF's competition section, New Currents, alongside 11 films from 8 other Asian countries. They are "Land of Scarecrows", the sophomore effort by "The Last Dining Table" director Noh Kyeong-tae, "Members of the Funeral" by Baek Seung-bin and "The Pot" by Kim Tae-gon.

PIFF's Window on Asian Cinema section will showcase 51 films from 23 Asia countries while World Cinema ranges the rest of the world with 68 films from 38 countries. 4 Gala presentations will be held this year, consisting of US-Korea co-production "Make Yourself at Homeby" SON Soo-peom, a re-edited version of Hong Kong director WONG Kar-wai's '94 classic, re-titled Ashes of Time Redux, and the world premiers of TSUI Hark's Not All Women Are Bad and ZHANG Yuan's Dada's Dance, both from China.

A range of Special Programs this year include a retrospective on Italian filmmakers, the Taviani Brothers; 12 films from the Romanian New Wave including Cristian Mungiu's Occident (2002); 11 films from a rarely seen genre: Asian Superheroes 9 animations from Ani Asia!; and an unusual treat, a compilation called 'Music Videos by Asian Film Directors'.

Regular sections, Midnight Passion, Open Cinema, and Wide Angle, Flash Forward and Korean Cinema Retrospective will be back with a new crop that should not disappoint. PIFF will also launch its 'dedicated cinema' concept, screening films of a certain type or region at specific venues. Audiences interested solely in Korean films need only go to the Primus venue for all their screenings. PIFF also adds a new multiplex to its venue map, the Lotte Cinemas in Haeundae, bringing its total screens to 37 this year.

The festival aims to be more audience-oriented this year. Master Classes and Hand Printings by directors Tsui Hark and Paolo Taviani, and French actress Anna Karina will be held. PIFF's total budget for 2008 is US $9.8 million. The festival's English website can be found at Open the link

Nigel D'Sa (KOFIC)

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