Pusan film festival to open with 'President'

Fest features a record number of films from 70 countries

SEOUL -- The 14th Pusan International Film Festival will open with "Good Morning President," Jang Jin's comedy about three Korean presidents including the youngest one played by "The Promise" heartthrob Jang Dong-kun.

The festival, set for Oct. 8-16 in Korea's second-largest city, brings a record 355 films from 70 countries, with 98 world premieres and 46 international premieres.

Gala Presentation, featuring screenings of latest works by noted directors, offers seven films from six countries, including Fruit Chan's drama "Chengdu, I Love You," and "Symbol" by Matsumoto Hitoshi. The festival closes with "The Message," a spy thriller directed by Chen Kuo-fu and Gao Qunshu set in 1942 China under Japanese rule.

This year's Pusan, arguably Asia's largest film fest, brings a balanced mixture of art house and genre films.

Hong Kong film giant Johnnie To brings action flicks in a special program in focus, "The Hood in the City." Continuing from last year, screenings of Filipino independent films from the 1950s to present will poignantly describe the country's conflicting identity. In "AniAsia," the festival will feature a line-up of nine animated features from countries including Malaysia, Thailand, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Philippines.

Fiive gialo, films, originally an Italian word for yellow that were used to refer to covers in dime novels in 1920s and later a unique '60s film genre, will mark the visit of the Italian horror giant Dario Argento in "Truth of the Invisible" in a retrospective.

A number of satellite programs will pay a tribute to Korean cinema in a new light. Screenings of late director Ha Kil-chong's films has been added to this year's World Cinema section along with the works of Arthur Penn, Ha's teacher from UCLA, from a fresh angle of revisiting classic films as New American Cinema. A retrospective of the late filmmaker Yoo Hyun-mok, who attended last year's festival, was organized to commemorate his death.

Jean-Jacques Beineix, French director of "Betty Blue" will lead a team of jury for New Currents Award, a competitive section given to two best feature films selected from works of new Asian directors.

Kurosawa Kiyoshi ("Bright Future") has been designated as the dean of Asian Film Academy in an educational program for young Asian filmmakers with noted instructors including Mahmoud Kalari, an Iranian director and Ho Yuhang, a Malaysian director.

Recipient of Korean Cinema Award went to Jeannette Paulson Hereniko, former director of Hawaii International Film Festival and Riccardo Gelli, the director of Korean film festival in Florence. Yash Chopra, a distinguished Bollywood director and founder of Yash Raj Films, India's largest film production company, was named as the recipient of Asian Filmmaker of the Year.

At the film's market, 72 companies from 22 countries will set up 44 sales offices at Seacloud Hotel this year. This year shows a sharp increase in participants from Taiwan and Hong Kong. On the buyer side, a notable rise is seen in buyers from Europe and North America, and those shopping for documentaries.

PPP, the festival's household project market, showcases 30 projects including celebrity directors Bong Jun-ho, Aoyama Shinji and Pang Ho Cheung. BIFCOM, a location exposition, which facilitates local shooting and facilities, will be held at the second floor of the Paradise Hotel. This year, the show introduces case studies of visual effects and 3D techniques.

Also, selected works by a producers' network -- Producers Guild of Korea – will be pitched to investors and co-producers in "Korean Producers in Focus." This year, five projects have been chosen among 39 applications including "Good Bye Again by the producer Kim Young-jin and "Nothing to Lose" by Shin Chul.

A lineup of films for the Pusan International Film Festival follows:

New Currents
"Dead Slowly" by Rita Hui (Hong Kong)
"I'm in Trouble!" by So Sang-min (Korea)
"Kick Off" by Shawkat A. Korki (Iraq)
"Lan" by Jiang Wenli (China)
"Lost Paradise in Tokyo" by Shiraishi Kazuya (Japan)
"A Man Who Ate Cherries" by Payman Haghani (Iran)
"Mundane History" by Anocha Suwichakornipong (Thailand)
"My Daughter" by Charlotte Lim Lay Kuen (Malaysia)
"Paju" by Park Chan-ok (Korea)
"Squalor" by Giuseppe Bede Sampedro (Philippines)
"True Noon" by Nosir Saidov (Tajikstan)
"The Well" by Umesh Vinayak Kulkarni (India)
Flash Forward
"Bridges" by Julian Giulianelli (Argentina)
"Chicago Heights" by Daniel Nearing (USA/Korea)
"Cosmonauta" by Susanna Nichiarelli (Italy)
"Dust" by Max Jacoby (Luxembourg/ Austria)
"The Frost" by Ferran Audi (Spain/Norway)
"The Kino Caravan" by Titus Muntean (Romania/Germany)
"Last Cowboy Standing" by Zaida Bergroth (Finland/Germany)
"The Loners" by Renen Schorr (Israel)
"Magma" by Pierre Vinour (France)
"Miss Kicki" by Hakon Liu (Swede/Taiwan)
"Zero" by Pawel Borowski (Poland)
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