PiFan launches genre film market

The Network of Asian Fantastic Films runs July 19-23

SEOUL -- Asia's biggest fantastic film festival, the Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival, is launching a film market dedicated to genre movies, organizers told The Hollywood Reporter.

The Network of Asian Fantastic Films runs July 19-23 alongside PiFan and will feature a networking program, industry forum and industry screenings.

"PiFan must break out of its traditional role as a genre film showcase and infuse new projects and events into the festival," festival director Han Sang-jun said.

Since the mid-1990s, Korea's film industry has more than quadrupled in size to more than $1 billion in theatrical revenue. But over the last two years, growth has come to a halt and the local movie business has had its confidence shattered by an extended stretch of poor boxoffice results.

PiFan organizers see NAFF as a potential salve for these problems. "The Korean film industry is seeing its decade-long golden age disappearing and I believe it is due to the lack of support for genre filmmaking," Han said.

The It Project section will invite about 100 filmmakers, producers and financiers from around Asia to meet, network and search for potential collaborations; NAFF will award a $20,000 cash prize to "outstanding projects"; and the Industry Forum will feature seminars and roundtable talks for local international experts in the film industry and to provide further networking opportunities.

In addition, 50 films from around Asia will be selected for industry screenings.

NAFF also will be responsible for PiFan's Fantastic School section, offering classes and workshops for film industry professionals.

Festival organizers said that the creation of NAFF is part of a five-year plan to develop PiFan, which also will include the establishment of a Cinematheque Bucheon and a production/distribution service company for incubating new film professionals.

PiFan was started in 1997 in the Seoul suburb of Bucheon (also spelled Puchon). Last year, 70,000 people attended the nine-day festival.

Applications for NAFF 2008 are available at www.pifan.com.