Best turnout yet for Pusan festival

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Buoyed by three new screens and a revamped computerized ticketing system, the 12th Pusan International Film Festival pulled in record-breaking attendance numbers, organizers said.

With 198,603 admissions during the nine-day festival, PIFF was 5,633 admissions ahead of 2005, the previous record year, and well up from last year's 162,835.

This year's occupancy rate of 75.8% also was well up from last year and was the highest since 2004.

As usual, Opening, Closing and Midnight Passion films were sold out, with Gala Presentation, Master Classes and New Currents all recording more than 70% occupancy.

Least-popular sections were the Korean Retrospective with 48.2% and the Special Program on Dariush Mehrjui and the late Edward Yang with 42.8%.

All told, 271 films from 64 countries were screened.

PIFF welcomed 7,361 guests this year, with the Asian Film Market and BIFCOM location market receiving another 3,600.

Three $30,000 prizes in the festival's New Currents section, the only competitive section, went to "Life Track," the China-Korea co-production by Jin Guang Hao, "Flower in the Pocket" by Seng Tat Liew (Malaysia), and "Wonderful Town" by Thailand's Aditya Assarat.

"Flower" also picked up the audience award, while the FIPRESCI award went to "The Red Awn," by China's Cai Shangjun.

Meanwhile, organizers of the Asian Film Market announced the winners of this year's Pusan Promotion Plan premarket.

The top prize of $20,000 went to "11 Flowers," by Wang Xiaoshuai.

The Kodak Award of $20,000 worth of film negatives went to Park Ki-bok for "Farewell."

The $10,000 Cineclick Asia Award was won by Japanese art-house favorite Sion Sono for "Room of Dreams."
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