By Lee Jin-woo
In the last two days, veteran cinematographer Kim Jae-min has repeatedly stabbed himself in front of visitors to his booth at the 5th Busan International Film Commission and Industry Showcase (BIFCOM). Fortunately, he was using a safely designed stunt knife. The prop was used in the famous last scene of Korean film Friend
,' where the hero was killed in pouring rain.
"I've decided to participate in the event to seek ways to cooperate with foreign filmmakers", said Kim, who has worked on underwater filming for over 30 films, including the upcoming Korean film "Typhoon
". He has also worked on various commercials since 1997. His company Effekt, one of 58 companies and film commissions from 15 countries joining this year's BIFCOM, also offers various special effect services. This year, 33 film commissions and 25 companies related to the film industry participated in the three-day event, which ends today at the Paradise Hotel in Haeundae.
Several local animation and computer graphic firms also participated in this year's exhibition. Independence, a digital visual effect studio which took part in the CGI part of animated feature film "Wonderful Days
" (Released as "Blue Sky" in the U.S.) and did the visual effects of the recent box office hit "Welcome to Dongmakgol
", was also looking for more business opportunities at the expo.
"Our 14-minute long animation `Tree Robo' was the main film of the Korean Pavilion at the 2005 Aichi Expo in Japan, winning great popularity from Japanese audiences", said Park Young-min, CEO of the company. "A few Japanese partners have suggested we make it a feature animation, showing the possibility of Korean computer animation industry".
The organizer of the international expo, the Busan Film Commission (BFC), aims to become an Asian filmmaking hub, especially in the field of post-production services.
"Pusan plans to complete establishing a post-production industry complex by 2008. It's going to be much bigger than what's now available in Korea", said Kim Jung-hyun, project manager of BIFCOM. "We provide filmmakers with one-stop services cooperating with all different government offices, including the city government, police stations and even fire stations. Although some scenes are supposed to be based in Seoul, many street scenes that require traffic control were shot in Pusan because of our services".
She pointed out that some of the more impressive scenes of "Sympathy for Lady Vengeance
" were shot in an alley in the port city, for which the commission staff had to send hundreds of leaflets to get permission from residents of the area.
Sueko Nago, commissioner of the Japan Film Commission Promotion Council, which is composed of some 80 provincial offices, said: "Many foreigners are worried about high costs in Japan, but it's not that high except for some major cities". She added that volunteer services such as staff and extras and discounted hotel prices as well as government administrative services will be available free of charge.
Following the first day's demonstrations by four companies including DG-Spot Inc., a 3D animation and FX company, Japan's Digital Frontier, Korea's Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI) and Thailand's Kantana Animation showed off their advanced technologies to animation fans yesterday.