Puchon film festival wraps, sets encore

'Forbidden Door' takes top prize at closing ceremony

BUCHEON, South Korea -- The 13th Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival ended its official program Thursday, leaving an additional weekend for screening the festival's award-winning films for "encore run" through Sunday.

This year's Puchon (an old Romanization of the city of Bucheon), one of Korea's three major international film festivals, has strengthened the market side with a specialized project market for genre films "It Project."

The festival's closing ceremony, held in Bucheon Citizen's Hall, was nearly full Thursday with guests and audiences observing the award winners and watching the closing film "Merantau," a martial arts flick set in urban Jakarta by a British director Gareth Huw Evans.

The Indonesian reference was faithfully carried out through the evening -- first with a prelude set by an acrobatic performance of an Indonesian martial arts troupe and later with the appearance of Iko Uwais, a male lead from "Merantau," casually gracing the ballroom of a closing reception at Koryo Hotel, where many festival guests and press stayed.

From the festival's feature section, Joko Anwar, an Indonesian director of "The Forbidden Door" was also awarded the Best of Puchon, given to the festival's best picture of the year. Separately, Hong Kong's Dante Lam won the best director for "The Beast Stalker," while the Jury's Choice, from the panel headed by a British critic Tony Rayns, went to "The Neighbor Zombie" by four Korean directors (Oh Young Doo, Ryu Hoon, Hong Young Guen and Jang Yoon Jung).

The best actress prize went to both Macabre and Shareefa Daanish each from Singapore and Indonesia; Canada's Pontypool Stephan Mchattie won best actor. "The Horribly Slow Murderer with the Extremely Inefficient Weapon" by Richard Gale received both the Citizen's Choice for Short Film and the best short film of the festival complete with cash prize; the award for best Korean short film went to Jung Yu Mi's "Dust Kid."