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Busan Fest Partners With Venice Fest, Al Jazeera English to Promote Asian Cinema

The South Korean film festival's new alliances will help fund and support microbudget films and documentaries by Asian filmmakers.

SEOUL -- The Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) has teamed up with the Venice Film Festival and Al Jazeera English to support the region’s film projects, organizers of the South Korean event announced Thursday.

Asian Cinema Fund, BIFF’s funding program to help drive more independent film productions, is collaborating with Venice’s Biennale College Cinema, an initiative to support the development and production of microbudget audiovisual works.

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The two organizations will run the “Asian Micro Budget Film” project, through which an Asian project will receive a 150,000 euro-production award from the Italian side of the team and postproduction support from Korea.

The Biennale College Cinema is accepting submissions until July 10 on its website. Eligible teams should be represented by emerging directors making a debut or second film and a producer who has completed at least three audiovisual projects distributed and/or presented at festivals. Twelve projects will be chosen to participate in a 10-day workshop in October, among which three will be selected to take part in a subsequent workshop. The final three projects will be shown at the 2014 Venice Film Festival. The three projects from last year will premiere at this year’s edition of the event in August.

Meanwhile, BIFF’s Asian Network of Documentary (AND), and Al Jazeera English are working together for the second time on the five-year documentary workshop project “Viewfinder: Asia.”

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In 2011, Al Jazeera English launched “Viewfinder,” a cross-border project through which the Qatar-based international current affairs TV channel collaborates with film institutions around the world to discover local documentaries. It has in the past partnered with Doc Montevideo of Uruguay for “Viewfinder: Latin America.”

Last year, the Asia edition was launched with a five-year mission to initiate regional initiatives. Over 200 projects were submitted from 20 Asian countries, and eight documentaries have since been completed following a workshop held in Busan.

Documentary filmmakers from around Asia can submit applications through July 26 at Al Jazeera's Viewfinder site. Ten filmmakers will be selected to participate in a training workshop from Sept. 30 to Oct. 6 in Busan during the course of the 18th BIFF. Among these, six will be entitled to a cash prize of $50,000 and will be aired on Al Jazeera English.