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PIFF puts spotlight on Central Asian films

2008/09/10 | 143 views | Permalink | Source

Organizers of the 13th Pusan International Film Festival have taken some major steps to address past criticisms and ensure maximum convenience for guests and participants this year.

"The means of purchasing tickets have been updated. One example is the ability to buy tickets by using your cell phone", said Hur Nam-sik, the festival director, at a press conference on Tuesday.

"We've also done our very best to ensure that commuting to and fro around the festival venues and various sites hosting special events will be as hassle-free and convenient as possible".

For the last two years, the PIFF has been criticized for having a "lack of administrative insight".

In terms of the national origin of the films, organizers of this year's competition have gravitated towards Central and Southeast Asia, in addition to inviting more selections from non-Asian countries.

Previous editions of the PIFF were mainly for East Asian films, with selections outside of the region premiering out of any competition.

"We noticed that other major film festivals around the globe were neglecting the Central and Southeast Asian regions", said Jay Jeon, the deputy director of the festival.

"The quality of the films that were submitted from Southeast Asia convinced us that it's a region which has been unjustly neglected, so we decided to reach out. It is also a way for us to truly distinguish ourselves from the rest of the festival organizations".

A Kazakh film, "The Gift to Stalin", directed by Rustem Abdrashev, was picked to open the festival, which will run from Oct. 2-10. During that time, 315 films from 60 countries will be screened.

"We felt that this film deserved as much exposure as it can possibly get because it moved us to the core. What better way for it to get that exposure than for it to be the opening film?" said Kim Ji-seok, who is the executive programmer of the festival.

Yoon Jong-chan's "I Am Happy", starring Hyun Bin and Lee Bo-young, has been chosen to close the festival.

The opening and closing films share the theme of rehabilitation in the aftermath of tragedy. Perhaps that best reflects the somber mood of this year's PIFF.

One addition to this festival that will surely have movie lovers excited is the Lotte Cinema Multi-plex, which will screen various international films in both HD and 35mm. Domestic films with subtitles will be shown, as well.

By Song Woong-ki

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