Busan: Asian Auteurs to Mentor Emerging Directors

Apichatpong Weerasethakul

The noted Thai auteur was in Locarno to head the international jury, which earned praise for some of its out-of-the-box prize selections. In addition to Brisseau’s The Girl From Nowhere, the jury honored a couple of unexpected actors - China’s An Nai for her understated role as a killer’s mother in Wo hai you hua yao shuo (When Night Falls) and Austrian actor Walter Saabel in just his second major acting role in Der Glanz des Tages.

Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Naomi Kawase, Im Sang-soo and Wang Xiaoshuai will advise the makers of short films as part of a Busan festival partnership with Chinese online video giant Youku.

Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) organizers announced on Monday that four Asian filmmakers would take part in its new short film partnership with Chinese online video giant Youku Tudou. They are Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Naomi Kawase, Im Sang-soo and Wang Xiaoshuai.

In October, the South Korean film festival signed a memorandum of understanding with Youku, the Chinese equivalent of YouTube, to fund emerging filmmakers' short-film project. Each year, from 2015 through 2017, four up-and-coming talents will receive support to create shorts that will be unveiled during BIFF. Festival programmers and mentors will select one short that will be developed into a full-length feature.

BIFF will select three filmmakers, while Youku will choose one. This year, Busan has invited two alumni of its annual Asian Film Academy, Phuttiphong Aroonpheng from Thailand and Asmita Shrish from Nepal, as well as Lee Han Jong, whose short film Working Day competed at Busan's Wide Angle section in 2014. Chinese newcomer Chen Liang was chosen by Youku.

Film fans headed to Busan can also look forward to watching shorts that the four mentors will create for the occasion.

Thai auteur Weerasethakul is internationally renowned for the Cannes Palme d'Or-winning Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives. Im is known for touching upon uncomfortable social phenomena in films such as The Housemaid and Taste of Money, which both competed for the Palme d'Or.

Cannes regular Kawase is Japan's best-known female filmmaker and has built a reputation for both documentaries and fiction projects. Wang, among the "Sixth Generation" of Chinese cinema, has been a regular at international festivals with such titles as Beijing Bicycle and Shanghai Dreams. Wang will also head this year's Asian Film Academy.

The 20th edition of BIFF will run Oct. 1-10 in the southern port city of Busan.