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Busan festival screens the best of Asian cinema

Updated: 2013-10-17 07:13
By Mathew Scott ( China Daily)

Busan festival screens the best of Asian cinema

A scene from Chinese movie, Einstein and Einstein, which had its world premiere at the 18th Busan International Film Festival. Provided to China Daily

Busan festival screens the best of Asian cinema

Movie 'Silent Witness' to hit screen on Sept 13

Aaron Kwok is a man who knows when to pull out all the stops, which is no doubt why the multi-award winning star arrived at the 18th Busan International Film Festival a day before any of the other main guests turned up.

The red-eye from Hong Kong to South Korea's second city can leave the most seasoned traveler feeling less than 100 percent, even 24 hours on from the flight. But Kwok took to the stage looking immaculate and handled the festival's opening ceremony like a seasoned pro.

It was a surprise to learn that it was Kwok's first time as an MC - anywhere. But the actor says there was never any chance he might decline the invitation when it came. The two most important factors in agreeing to the role, says Kwok, was the fact that it was the first time it had been offered to a Chinese man - Tang Wei was the first Chinese woman last year - and then there's the important role the Busan event plays in Asian cinema.

"Many filmmakers and directors and artists can come here to share quality movies with audiences, and the movies that have been selected to screen in Busan normally go on to perform well in the marketplace," says Kwok. "They have a huge spotlight on them as the festival's influence stretches now beyond Asia and out into the world."

This year's star-studded Busan festival, which came to a close last Saturday, featured 300 films and sold just over 217,000 tickets during its 10-day run. Organizers have long championed their role in introducing the work of independent Asian filmmakers to the world and they have long looked to China as they try to identify emerging talent.

There was a strong Chinese presence throughout the event's various programs and on into the festival's sideline Asian Film Market, which aims to help filmmakers get on with the business of making movies.

Kwok, who also had his Fei Xing-directed thriller Silent Witness screening, was joined in the spotlight by the likes of Jia Zhangke, who brought his gritty A Touch of Sin to town, and Cao Baoping, whose compelling coming-of-age drama Einstein and Einstein had its world premiere.

Yu Lulai's short film Brother and the Lee Leo-directed animation Bonta were proof of the diversity being found now across all levels of Chinese cinema and there was plenty of attention at the AFM being paid to the Beijing Film Commission's booth - the first time the organization had attended the event. The government-run Korea Creative Content Agency also organized a seminar themed "The Future of Cooperative CG/VFX and S3D Technology Between Korea and China" that gave 10 local companies a chance to learn about the business opportunities opening up as the Chinese market grows, especially for the effects-laded 3-D films that are proving so popular with the new generation of audiences.

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