Promotion plan keeps Asia focus

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BUSAN, South Korea -- Now entering its 11th year alongside the Pusan International Film Festival and the Asian Film Market, the Pusan Promotion Plan seeks to help talented film directors with the financing opportunities they need.

This year's PPP, which runs through Monday at Haeundae Beach's Paradise Hotel and nearby venues, includes 30 films -- five from Korea -- and features both lesser-known directors and such festival favorites as China's Zhang Yuan and Japan's Sabu. It also includes first-time filmmakers, like France's Ounie Lecomte.

The PPP aims to distinguish itself from other regional film funds and showcases by trying to "reach as wide a territory in Asia as possible," said Jiyoon Lim, head of marketing and sales for the plan. She pointed not only to PPP films but also to those participating in the main festival as examples of talent from throughout the region, including Central Asia and the former Soviet Union.

"Dozens of talented filmmakers are being discovered every year," she said.

That Pan-Asian focus helps to set PPP apart from other regional film funds and promotional efforts like the Hong Kong Asian Film Fund, which has more of a China focus and has included more commercial titles like "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon."

The project's slightly smaller format this year reflects a desire to concentrate on the films it includes, Lim said.

PPP coordinates with PIFF's programrs, and some of the festival's directors also work with PPP to help them find suitable projects and directors, Lim said.

Given the current global financial uncertainty and its impact on the film industry, Lim noted that "companies are trying anything within their reach" and that "the need for networking opportunities is greater than ever."

This year's PPP also includes a number of established directors, which would seem to be at cross-purposes with the concept of assisting directors in need.

"Even established directors have difficulty finding funding," Lim said. "Even if they have fame, they may have other needs. It's not always a question of funding."

Although this year's edition includes five films by Korean directors, having too much of a Korean focus was never a concern. "We were originally concerned to have too few Korean projects," Lim said of the initial PPP.

"We want the program to relate to why people are coming to Pusan -- they are searching for something new about Asia," she said.
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