Auteurs lead EFP charge at Pusan

Euro promotion body has art, commerce on its mind

More news from the Pusan fest

Veteran European directors including Volker Schlondorff and Claude Lelouch as well as such newcomers as Palme d'Or winner Cristian Mungiu ("4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days") and Hans Weingartner ("Reclaim Your Brain") are heading to Korea to promote their latest films and discuss European cinema with audiences at the 12th annual Pusan International Film Festival.

The directors are part of a delegation of 24 filmmakers from 15 European countries that European Film Promotion is taking to Pusan. EFP managing director Renate Rose sees the Korean festival as an ideal platform to promote European art house cinema in Asia.

"We are very supportive of Pusan, we think the organizer's decision to leave out Hollywood and focus entirely on art house cinema to be very beneficial for us," Rose told The Hollywood Reporter. "The audiences in Pusan are very smart and very knowledgeable about European cinema. And the theaters are packed. It is a great experience for the directors we bring over."

The EFP also is supporting the business side of the equation by backing European sales agents headed to Pusan's Asian Film Market to promote their wares.

Through its Film Sales Support program, the EFP is helping to bankroll the East Asian promotion campaigns of 14 European sales companies including France's Wide Management, Germany's Match Factory and Denmark's Nordisc Film.

"The Asian market is a difficult one for European films and the business culture in Asia is also different, it requires more regular, face-to-face contact with buyers," Rose said, explaining the reasoning behind the EFP's program. "European sales companies often have a hard time making the equation work financially."

To further help Euro sales agents and producers, the EFP will be operating an extended working office at the Asian Film Market that will feature viewing facilities and business suites for setting up meetings and doing deals. Twenty European companies, from national promotion bodies such as the Austrian Film Commission, the U.K. Film Council and Swiss Films, to sales giants Celluloid Dreams and Wild Bunch, have signed up to use the EFP facilities while in Pusan.