'Kick Off,' 'Trouble' win Pusan prizes

Iraqi-Japan co-production wins alongside Korean film

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SEOUL -- The Pusan International Film Festival wrapped up by giving its New Currents Award to Shawkat Amin Korki's drama "Kick Off" (Iraq, Japan) and So Sang-min's comedy "I Am in Trouble" (Korea).

The jury, chaired by French director Jean-Jacques Beineix, said it enjoyed Korki's "realistic, unexpected and poetic, almost surrealistic, vision to depict the precarious and hard life of a Kurdish Iraqi community that takes refuge in a football stadium." The awards with a $60,000 prize.

The jurors said they were impressed by So's ability to "define his characters, control his story into very well elaborated long takes, which gives the movie a special tone."

Special mention went to Giuseppe Bede Sampedro's Philippine production "Squalor," which profiled four men living in Manila.

The other jurors were Turkish director Yesim Ustaoglu, Thai filmmaker Pen-ek Ratanaruang, Taiwanese actress Terri Kwan and South Korean cinematographer Kim Hyung-koo.

The winners of this year's Flash Forward Award went to "Last Cowboy Standing" ("Skavabolen pojat"), the debut feature of a Zaida Bergroth, announced the jury of Pusan International Film Festival Friday, wrapping up a nine-day festival. A prize worth $20,000 will be given to the director.

"The overall storytelling, acting and directing is carefully constructed and shows the subtlety of a female director, as well as strong mise-en-scene," said the jury headed by Korean actress Kang Soo-yeon. "We have high expectations for the director's potential."

The film is a drama about the ups-and-downs of a local family, set in Finland during the 1970s and 1980s. It is a co-production between the Finnish producer Juonifilmi and Germany's NikoVantastic with the Finnish distributor FS Film and international sales handled by m-appeal.

Earlier in the week, Pusan Promotion Plan Awards went to six projects including "Decadent Sisters" by Aoyama Shinji (Japan) and "New Policemen Stories" by Yang Jin (Hong Kong, China). Also on the market side, the Korean Producers in Focus Award, an open-pitching program for emerging Korean producers, went to Kim Young-jin's "Good Bye Again," a love story of a South Korean tour guide and a North Korean soldier.

A total of 534 companies from 42 countries attended this year's Pusan with 45 sales offices.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.