Latest news from the Pusan International Film Festival


The Hollywood Reporter and Cine21 have teamed up for The Daily in Pusan, a daily satellite edition published at the Pusan International Film Festival. Download each day's issue in PDF format here.
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Wednesday, Oct. 10

Asian Film Market: Busy but with few deals
For a market with so few deals getting signed, this year's Asian Film Market wound down Wednesday to widespread approval, though participants reported very divergent experiences about how busy they were. As usual, buyers and sellers found the market's prime value in building ties and laying the groundwork for deals to be signed at the American Film Market in November. MORE

Cinematic buffet caters to every taste
CRITICS NOTEBOOK: As with all festivals, PIFF's opening film -- in this case the war film "Assembly" -- gets most of the limelight, but another movie dealing with war, "Yasukuni," ignited a passionate response from the audience. Among the strongest films in the lineup this year were the Ian Curtis biopic "Control," the "real-time" digital feature "Boxing Day" from Australia and Baltasar Kormakur's "Jar City." MORE

Eastern Europe meets Far East
Belgrade International Film Festival programmer Miroljub Vuckovic said the "Beyond Frame" slogan of the 12th annual Pusan International Film Festival was the invitation he needed to start building a bridge from southeast Europe to Asia. Included in the group of filmmakers Vuckovic led to Korea from eight countries are two PIFF juror-directors: Romanian Cristian Mungiu, whose "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days" won the Cannes Palme d'Or, and Serbian Goran Paskaljevic. MORE

Dialogue: Li Ying

In 1997, Chinese director Li Ying moved to Japan to document ordinary Japanese speaking their minds inside Tokyo's controversial Yasukuni shrine. Therein, Shinto Buddhists believe, lie the souls of 2.4 million dead, merged inside a ceremonial sword. Li grew up in South China, well after the communists repelled Japan, but his father told him about being forced to eat chalk for refusing to speak Japanese to the invaders in the embattled north. Li told The Hollywood Reporter Asia Editor Jonathan Landreth what it was like to be afraid of the subject of his own film. MORE

Tuesday, Oct. 9

Aussies, Kiwis plant flag in Asia for co-production
Both Aussie and Kiwi producers are staking a claim in Asia this week at the Pusan festival. On her way to a host a reception on the second day of the Asian Film Market here, Jane Coombs, New Zealand's ambassador to South Korea, said her country has a lot to offer Asia, "and particularly Korea in respect of film." MORE

Artistic freedom key to Asia-Hollywood crossover
The creativity and artistic freedom in Asian cinema is its greatest resource in crossing over into Hollywood. That was the main message in a high-powered discussion held at the Asian Film Market on Tuesday. Peter Loehr, of CAA in Beijing, led a discussion about Asian actors in Hollywood blockbusters and crossing over talent in general, with a panel of Michelle Yeoh, Gore Verbinski and Spencer Baumgarten of CAA. MORE

Film industry has digital 3-D hurdles to jump
Digital 3-D movies may represent the future of the movie business, but a number of obstacles -- cultural as well as technological -- must be overcome if the future is to come into focus. That was the consensus reached by a number of the participants at BIFCOM's centerpiece seminar, 3-D Cinema Market: The Opportunities and Challenges, held Tuesday. MORE

Asian co-productions reach out for teamwork

Korean, Chinese and Hong Kong film companies are increasingly forming co-productions, but they will need to integrate further if these projects are to run smoothly in the future. Korean director Kim Sung-su led a discussion with Terence Chang, Yi Chi-yun and Daniel Yu titled Multiple Collaborations and Efficient Coproduction System in China, held at the Asian Film Market. MORE

China BizCamp gives Korea b.o. pointers
Koreans packed the room at the Asian Film Market's inaugural China BizCamp Conference, trying to learn from their visiting East Asian neighbors how to sell movies in a restrictive and piracy-stricken market. China restricts to 20 the number of films allowed to share in boxoffice revenue each year and admits it is fighting a battle against the prevalence of foreign films available via illegal DVD. MORE

Dialogue: John H. Lee
Born in Seoul, writer-director John H. Lee moved to suburban Maryland at 12. After graduating from the NYU film school in 1995, Lee's directorial debut -- "The Cut Runs Deep," a noir tale of struggling immigrants -- showed at the then-fledgling Pusan International Film Festival. Lee talked to The Reporter's Jonathan Landreth about remaking John Woo's superviolent Hong Kong hit man classic "The Killer" in time for its 20th anniversary in 2009. MORE

Monday, Oct. 8

Woo's 'Killer' gets a new contract

Legendary action director John Woo's 1989 Hong Kong classic "The Killer" will be remade in Los Angeles with a Korean star replacing Chow Yun-fat as the hard-boiled hit man. Director John H. Lee, a Korean-American and a CAA client, will move the action through L.A.'s Koreatown, Chinatown and South Central, said Woo's longtime producer and partner at Lion Rock Prods., Terence Chang. MORE

BIFCOM focusing on digital 3-D

Producers and exhibitors wrestling with the convergence to digital 3-D were treated to practical demonstrations of new technology Monday as BIFCOM 2007 offered up the first in a series of 3-D cinema presentations. BIFCOM's 3-D focus will continue Tuesday afternoon at the Grand Hotel with a seminar on the opportunities and challenges posed by 3-D. MORE

Hou targets 'Assassin' for next project

The title alone, "The Assassin," tells you that festival favorite Hou Hsiao-Hsien's next film will be a world away from his usual languid, art house style. He announced the project, a $10 million martial arts romp set in Tang Dynasty China, at the Asian Film Market on Monday as part of a new program called Co-Productions PRO. MORE

Tsui working on Tang Dynasty detective pic
Hong Kong director Tsui Hark plans to start shooting a $20 million detective film -- also set during the Tang Dynasty -- in March, Beijing-based producer-distributors Huayi Bros. Pictures said at the Asian Film Market on Monday. MORE

Festival directors scout pics at Pusan

Two films premiering at Pusan have been selected to go on to the Rotterdam Film Festival, building on the relationship between Asia's largest film fest and its older international peers. With the festival now in its 12th year, the South Korean beach resort town is crawling with festival programmers from around the world who view it as one of the best places to find the next great film from the world's fastest-growing region. MORE

Schlondorff touches down in 'lively' Korea

German director Volker Schlondorff says he was pleased with the energy at the Pusan International Film Festival, where his master class revealed what he described as the Asian filmmakers' sense of duty. In Pusan for the first time, Schlondorff, best known for his classic "The Tin Drum," said he has long admired Asian aesthetic. MORE

Sunday, Oct. 7

Flood of business forecast for Asian Film Market
Typhoon rains welcomed the arrival of some of the 1,500 participants set to attend Busan's second annual four-day Asian Film Market, opening today, including 350 registered buyers. But by Sunday evening no inbound flights were delayed to this South Korean beach resort and organizers said there were no cancellations -- and many newcomers -- at the market and the Busan International Film Commission & Industry Showcase. MORE

Kim not 'Lost' on return to Korea

For Daniel Dae Kim, who plays the stern Jin in the hit series "Lost," visiting the Pusan festival to take part in the Asian Pacific Actors Network conference has been, quite literally, a homecoming. Although he was raised in the U.S., he returned regularly to visit relatives. "It's been nice to come back here and spend time with them and see how much the city's changed. I think the festival has had a lot to do with it. It's made it a lot more cosmopolitan." MORE

'Fist' punches up Motion 101 launch

Leading Korean entertainment company Showbox is launching its new production house Motion 101 with a bang, thanks to the $13 million science fiction blockbuster "Fist." "We want to create a new style that will surprise people, like '300,' " Motion 101 COO Jeong Tae-sung said. "We want a strong story, but also we want new ideas, new style, everything." MORE

Dialogue: Pen-ek Ratanaruang

Each of Pen-ek Ratanaruang's six features has been prominently featured at festivals including Cannes, Berlin, Rotterdam, Hong Kong and Venice, though his films have never broken out in Thailand, where ghost movies, romantic comedies and slapstick are the top draws. His most recent film, "Ploy," is featured at Asia's biggest film fest this year. The helmer spoke with THR Thailand correspondent Joel Gershon about his work on the film, battles with censors and his time at PIFF. MORE

Saturday, Oct. 6

Asia playing catch-up in digital cinema rollout

While a new wave of digital 3-D movies promises to energize the film business, Asia lags behind the rest of the world in making the d-cinema transition. North America has a developing business model that calls for distributors to pony up "virtual license fees" that allow exhibitors to invest in the new digital projection systems used for 3-D presentations, but Europe and Asia have not yet adopted similar business models. MORE

Typhoon creates travel snags before market
With Supertyphoon Krosa about two days away from the Korean Peninsula, Pusan organizers hope the storm passes the festival by. Weather reports indicate Krosa will move from Taiwan toward Korea but will lighten as it approaches. Saturday evening, Krosa was pounding northern Taiwan, and several market attendees found their flights canceled. MORE

Henney's star rising in new culture
When Daniel Henney, star of the recent Korean film "My Father," won the third annual Premiere Rising Star Award on Friday night, it was the ultimate endorsement of his decision to travel halfway around the world and try to start his acting career in a different culture. It is heady approval for the American actor of partially Korean heritage, who did not know any Korean when he started his acting career here three years ago. MORE

Nakamura introduces 'Stranger' at Pusan
Mayu Nakamura may be Japanese, but she sees her homeland through a different lens. After attending a boarding school in rural England and universities in both London and New York, it is perhaps not surprising that she sometimes feels like a stranger when she is in Tokyo. Her first feature, "The Summer of Stickleback," premiered at the 2006 Pusan festival, and now she has returned to seek funding for her next project, "Intimate Stranger." MORE

Friday, Oct. 5

Pusan fest brings actors into its Network
After 12 years of bringing together directors, producers and other filmmakers from all over Asia and the world, the Pusan festival grew significantly when it added the faces of cinema with the launch of the Asia Pacific Actors Network. Among those in attendance at the APAN opening were Daniel Dae Kim, Grace Park and Wong Fann. MORE

Korea-U.S. co-prod'n looks into 'Box'
The Korean-America