Korean helmers have a Plan

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BUSAN, South Korea -- Three Korean directors took home half of the prizes awarded Monday night by the Pusan Promotion Plan at a ceremony at the Paradise Hotel.

Lee Chang-dong's "Poetry" won the Kodak Award, which carries with it 20 million won (about $20,000) of negative film in support of the project.

Jung Bum-shik's "Eugenia" took home the Wooridul Award, launched just this year, which gives 10 million won (about $10,000) to a Korean PPP project.

First-time filmmaker Ounie Lecomte won the OKF Fund award with "A Brand New Life," giving the France-based director of Korean heritage $10,000 from the Overseas Korean Foundation.

Chinese festival fixture Zhang Yuan won the BFC (Busan Film Commission) Award and 10 million won for "Executioner Garden," set in 1930s Shanghai.

Ahmad Yasmin won $20,000 from the Busan municipal government, grabbing the Pusan Award for the Japan/Malaysia production, "Forget-me-not."

Iranian Mona Zandi's "The Bride," won 15,000 Swedish kronors (US$2,100) for participation, travel and accommodation as part of the Goteborg Film Festival Fund, which in this way supports eight to 10 directors per year.

In its 11th year, the PPP seeks to support filmmakers in need of financing and other logistics for their projects, including distribution.

This year's edition was reduced to 30 films in order to provide greater focus on the participating projects, according to Jiyoon Lim, PPP's director of marketing and sales.

That focus seems to have paid off. The producers and directors of the 30 films held a total of about 500 meetings with prospective financiers, buyers and other industry executives during the plan's four days, held alongside the Asian Film Market. Lim was "very happy" about the attention that PPP was able to offer its filmmakers this year, she said.

Projects may be at many stages of production, anywhere from the idea stage to finished films in search of distribution.
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