PIFF to honor Sarsenova, Pena

Kazakh producer first woman to receive award

SEOUL -- Kazakh producer Gulnara Sarsenova is the Asian Filmmaker of the Year, and Richard Pena, program director at the Lincoln Center, is the recipient of the Korean Cinema Award, organizers of the Pusan International Film Festival said Wednesday.

The Korean Cinema Award, which recognizes individuals who have advanced Korean films around the world, has been awarded to 27 people since making its debut in 1996.

The PIFF announcement cited the many Korean movie programs Pena has organized as program director of the Film Society of New York at Lincoln Center, including "The Newest Tiger: 60 Years of South Korean Cinema" in 2004.

The Asian Filmmaker of the Year, awarded annually since 2003, is chosen for Asian filmmakers who showed outstanding activities in the movie industry and cultural development.

The first woman to win the award, Sarsenova is the chairman of the International Eurasian Film Festival and has produced films including "Mongol," by Sergei Bodrov, which was nominated for a best foreign-language film Academy Award this year.

PIFF organizers said that Sarsenova has devoted herself to the film industries of Central Asian since the dissolution of the Soviet Union and has led Central Asia in "international expansion."

The 13th Pusan International Film Festival is set for Oct. 2-10.