Talks high as Asian Film Market wraps

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PUSAN, South Korea -- The first Asian Film Market closed Wednesday with 3,500 film industry professionals and 562 exhibition, distribution and sales companies from 40 countries attending the four-day event.

Overall, most buyers and exhibitors were calling it a good start for the event, albeit one with more discussions than dealmaking going on in anticipation of November's American Film Market in Santa Monica.

PIFF has for years held an informal market alongside the other industry events, but the inaugural Asian Film Market represented a significant increase in scope, with the addition of several new events, including the well-received Star Summit Asia that featured Asian and Asian-American actors.

Korea's Cineclick Asia had one of the most successful markets, closing eight deals around Asia and Europe. Horror titles "Hansel & Gretel" and "Mommy's Risen" were sold to France's Wild Side Films, while Thailand's J-BICS bought "Love Me Not," "The Old Garden" and "Family Ties." Indonesia's Queen Films bought "The Host" and AOE bought the Singapore and Malaysian rights for "Seducing Mr. Perfect" and "Mission Sex Control."

IHQ also left the market with several deals inked, including the sale of "Gangster High," "Thursday's Child," "A Day for an Affair" and "My Girl and I" to Queens Film of Indonesia.

"Thursday's Child" also pre-sold for Malaysia and Brunei through Hwa Yea while "A Day for an Affair" went to Thailand's J-BICS.

Lotte Entertainment sold "Holiday" and "Arang" to Splendid in Germany as well as "Holiday" and several other titles to J-BICS in Thailand.

Japanese sales companies only announced two significant sales -- both to Korea -- Toei Co's "Memories of Tomorrow" and TBS' "NADA SOU SOU: Tears for You" were sold to Fall in Cinema.

At the Pusan Promotion Plan, AFM's film development showcase, 710 meetings -- up from 600 last year -- took place regarding the event's 36 films.

The Pusan Award of $20,000, given by the city of Busan, went to Pang Ho Cheung's "One Day of Ibrahim." The Kodak Award, worth $20,000 of film stock, was won by Lee Myung-se for "M."

Nguyan Phan Quang Binh won the Goteborg Film Festival Fund for "The Rainy Day." Ryoo Seung-wan took the $10,000 MBC Movies Award for "Yacha," while Mohsen Makhmalbaf won the $20,000 Cineclick Asia Award for "Two Footed Horse."

The Busan Film Commission's award for outstanding Asian project went to Abraham Lim for his "Hong Kong Hero." Mora Mi-ok Stephenson won the Overseas Korean Foundation award for "The 38th Parallel."

Finally, from the New Director in Focus section, the LJ Film Award went to Lee Jong-hoon for "Ringwanderung," while the Barunson Award was received by Chang Yeol for "A Gold Rush."

At BIFCOM, organizers said 450 meetings took place, with 67 exhibitors on hand from 16 countries. The BIFCOM Booth Buster Awards went to the Film Commission of New Zealand and Digital Cinema Solutions Inc.
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