A flurry at the finish line

Euro distribs get busy at Asian Film Market

After a slow start, the Asian Film Market saw some much needed action Monday as European distributors locked down a bevy of deals.

On the final day of the four-day market, Germany's Bavaria Film International sold all rights for the 2005 documentary "Into Great Silence" to Korea's Jin Jin Pictures; London-based Celsius Entertainment signed a deal with Korea's Mirovision for the Boris Damast–helmed biopic "Vivaldi"; and first-time AFM exhibitor M-appeal sold Polish director Andrzej Jakimowski's "Trick" to Korea's Coral Pictures.

"We're very happy about the market," M-appeal rep Maren Kroymann said. "From our position in Europe, it looked like a closed market — Korean exhibitors selling to Asian buyers — but not at all."

Indeed, European exhibitors have a bigger presence at the market. European Film Promotion, which supported films in sales and festival entries, has brought Euro filmmakers to Pusan for the third year running. This year there are about 40% more European film entries in the festival than last.

The dearth of films at the market from outside of Asia might be one of the reasons for the success of European distributors, but it also is symptomatic of the Korean film industry, suggested Jonathan H. Kim, CEO and president of Dyne Film in Korea.

"For now, Korean or Asian films don't have a big market; Korean films are pretty much dead now," he said.

Nigel D'Sa contributed to this report.
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