Bigger better for expanded Pusan festival


SEOUL -- This year's Pusan International Film Festival, the largest in Asia, will feature an expanded lineup and more world premieres than ever before, organizers said Tuesday.

The PIFF will unspool 275 films during its Oct. 4-12 run. Of those, 66 are world premieres and 26 are international premieres, including all 11 movies in the New Currents competitive section. An additional 101 titles are making their Asian debuts.

Among the premieres are Japanese director Takashi Miike's "Crows -- Episode 0," Bejing-based filmmaker Zi'en Cui's "Only Child, Upward, Downward, Forward, Backward, Rightward and Leftward" and Korean-American helmer Michael Kang's "West 32nd."

The PIFF kicks off with the world premiere of Feng Xiaogang's war movie "Assembly" and will close with the international premiere of the Japanese anime title "Evangelion 1.0: You Are (Not) Alone," both announced last week.

New sections this year include the Gala Presentation, featuring four new titles by leading directors in Korean and Asian cinema, and Flash Forward, dedicated to first and second efforts by new Asian directors.

"We are trying to break free of the boundaries of genre and the limits of region," festival director Kim Dong-ho said in his presentation.

Kim also noted that 13 movies in this year's program -- including Venice Film Festival closer "Blood Brother" and Berlin International Film Festival Golden Bear winner "Tuya's Marriage" -- were nurtured by PIFF, either via the Pusan Promotion Plan premarket or as part of the Asian Cinema Fund.

Special sections look at New Malaysian Cinema, Iranian director Dariush Mehrjui and the late Edward Yang, who also will be honored as Asian Filmmaker of the Year.

The Korean retrospective will put a special focus on the films of actor Kim Seung-ho.

This year's Asian Film Market, which runs alongside the PIFF from Oct. 8-11, also features more events than ever, including the Asia Pacific Actors Network and the Busan Asian Film Archive, which will work with the Korean Film Archive to collect 80 movies this year and 5,000 over the next 30 years.