By Kim Tae-jong
PUSAN _ The inaugural Asian Film Market (AFM), the most ambitious project by the Pusan International Film Festival (PIFF), ended yesterday, and its organizers said it was a success.
"In general, it was quite successful", said Park Kwang-su
, co-director of the market along with PIFF director Kim Dong-ho
. "There were some trivial problems and mistakes as it was an inaugural event. But as far as we are concerned, a lot of contracts have been made".
Taking place at Grand Hotel in Haeundae on Oct. 15-18, the AFM aimed to serve a pivotal role in making a total market, covering financing, production, post-production and sales.
Some 2,000 people from the film industry from Korea and abroad flocked to the venue for four days. Some 900 buyers and 151 companies set up sales offices. During the marketing portion of the event, more than 90 movies were screened at Primus Theater.
To win a competitive edge over other markets, such as Venice, Toronto and the American Film Market, the AFM put more emphasis on Asian products.
"The most obvious trend this year was the strong presence of Korean movies. Many international buyers showed their interest in Korean films", Park said.
Given this year's performances, Park expected that the market will grow with more sellers and buyers participating in coming years.
In addition to the film market, the AFM included a market for Asian actors, "Star Summit Asia", to boost exchanges in the field of talent management and acting.
Asian actors and talent agencies attended the event in the hopes of forming co-production contracts with companies from the West as well as other Asian countries.
Star Summit Asia consists of three main sections _ Curtain Call, Casting Board and Asian Faces in Hollywood.
In the Curtain Call, nine actors, who have won top spots in their home countries with superb performances in successful films, had a chance to introduce themselves to international audiences.
They included Yu Aoi from Japan, Hwang Jung-min
from South Korea, Hayato Ichihara from Japan, Jang Jin-yeong
from South Korea, Yu Kashii from Japan, Jingchu Zhang from China and Xun Zhou from China.
"If I could work with other international production companies, it will be a great opportunity for me", Hwang said during a news conference at Grand Hotel on Sunday. "But I think the most important thing I can do to market myself is keep doing my best in my films here focusing on quality and authenticity".
He swept local acting awards for his work in the 2005 drama "You're My Sunshine".
The Casting Board Section introduced emerging faces in Asian movie scenes and Asian Faces in Hollywood invited three stars who have played an important role in Hollywood movies, including Sung Kang, Will Yun Lee
and Leonardo Nam.
The AFA was also accompanied by other events such as Pusan Promotional Plan (PPP), a film project market, and BIFCOM, location showcases.
Celebrating its ninth edition, the PPP was expanded from three to four days with 36 selected projects, nine more than last year. The BIFCOM in its sixth year, also successfully served as Asia's leading meeting place for film commissions and production services.
The Pusan International Film Festival continues through Friday.