Busan Introduces Awards for Indie Actors, Actresses

Courtesy of Movie Collage
Chun Woo-hee became a noted actress through the South Korean indie film 'Han Gong-ju,' which was invited to BIFF in 2013.

The South Korean film festival also will add more glitz to its closing ceremony

The Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) will hand out actor and actress of the year awards for the first time this year, in an effort to support emerging talent in South Korea’s indie film industry.

One of Asia’s most prestigious film festivals, BIFF will host its 19th edition Oct. 2-11 in the South Korean city of Busan.

Awardees will be chosen through an unusual judging system. Each year, a renowned Korean actor and actress will be invited to select a notable actor and actress from the films presented in BIFF’s signature sections, the New Currents competition and Korean Cinema Today-Vision.

Winners will receive their awards as well as cash prizes (approximately $5,000 each) during the festival’s closing ceremony.

This year’s judges are actress Kim Hee-ae (Thread of Lies, aka Elegant Lies) and actor-filmmaker Yoo Ji-tae (Oldboy, One Fine Spring Day).

“The Busan International Film Festival is launching the actor and actress of the year in an effort to bring more attention to emerging actors and actresses, as well as spotlight new directors,” BIFF organizers said.

Many actors have succeeded in making names for themselves through independent films that created buzz at BIFF, such as Ha Jung-woo (The Unforgiven in 2005), Lee Je-hoon (Bleak Night in 2010), Yu Da-in (Re-encounter in 2010) and Chun Woo-hee (Han Gong-ju in 2013).

In addition to Kim and Yoo, other celebrities set to attend Busan this year include Japanese star Ken Watanabe, Korean actress Moon So-ri, Hong Kong filmmaker Anna Hui and local filmmaker Bong Joon Ho. Oscar-winning Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi and Hungarian auteur Bela Tarr also are due to take part in the festival as a judge and head of the Asian Film Academy, respectively.