Korean films win PIFF New Currents prizes

15th Pusan festival the finale for director Kim Dong-ho

SEOUL -- Korean films dominated the 15th Pusan International Film Festival's New Currents competition, with Yoon Sung-hyun’s “Boys into the Night” and Park Jung-bum's "The Journals of Musan" winning both awards given to young Asian filmmakers Friday.

“The Journals of Musan” is a drama about North Korean defectors trying to adjust in their new home in the South, while “Boys into the Night" (also known as "Bleak Night") delves into the story of a father who traces the mysterious death of a boy. The two winners will be given a cash award of $30,000 each.

“It was a film that all jury members liked,” Kim Yun-jin, actress from the ABC series “Lost,” who was a New Currents jury member, said of about “Boys into the Night,” adding the film’s storytelling and balanced performance showed the director's potential.

"After watching 13 films, 'The Journal of Musan' stays in my head even 'til now. The end was especially impressive," said Taiwan actress Yang Kuei-mei, a member of the five-person jury headed by Oscar-winning costume designer Emi Wada.

The Flash Forward Award for new non-Asian filmmakers went to Swedish director Lisa Langseth's "Pure," the coming-of-age story of a 20-year-old woman.

In a statement, the five-person Flash Forward jury headed by Sundance Film Festival director John Cooper called the movie "bold, risky and high energy while featuring an amazing performance by a young actress that can carry a film with conviction and power."

Langseth won a cash prize of $20,000.

Polish filmmaker Marek Lechki's father-son drama "Erratum" was given special mention.

The festival closed Friday with “Camellia,” an omnibus film by three directors from Thailand, Japan and Korea -- Wisit Sasanatieng, Yukisada Isao and Jang Joonhwan -- with each story set in Busan, South Korea's second-largest city and largest port.

PIFF sold 182,000 admissions during the festival with 306 film screenings, including 101 world premieres (including shorts) and 52 international premieres. On the market side, 108 companies from 26 countries participated in the Asian Film Market. Online screenings that started this year attracted 240 people.

The 15th edition of the festival also marked the end of an era, with the retirement of festival director and co-founder Kim Dong-ho. Kim, 73,  was feted throughout the eight-day event -- the largest annual cinema event in Asia -- and received a formal sending off at a party Thursday night. A successor has not yet been named.

-- Steven Schwankert in Beijing and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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