The 11th Pusan International Film Festival wraps up its nine-day schedule today with the closing film "Crazy Stone", a low-budget black comedy by Chinese director Ning Hao.
The film involves the comedic adventures of a gang of thieves plotting a jewel theft - a box office hit in both Hong Kong and mainland China this year. The closer is the last of 245 films from 63 countries that were featured at this year's festival in the southeastern port city of Busan.
The festival started last Thursday with director Kim Dae-seung
's melodrama "Trace of Love
" and made efforts to kick-start its new Asian Film Market this year in a bid to turn Asia's biggest film festival into a true marketplace for filmmakers, producers and distributors interested in Asian films.
The Asian Film Market, a four-day full-scale market covering financing, production, post-production and sales of Asian films, reflected PIFF's renewed emphasis on the commercial side of the festival. Festival organizers said the events offered a key venue for those wanting to buy and sell high-quality Asian films.
The festival attracted an estimated 170,000 moviegoers and 5,000 filmmakers, actors and distributors, boosting the economy of the country's major port city. City officials predicted the festival would bring in a total of 52 billion won in economic value.
The festival also fared without any disruptions despite some worries about security following the nuclear test by North Korea. Organizers and city police stepped up security at the venues and screening theaters as part of efforts to take proactive measures.
Organizers also said few guests canceled due to the recent geopolitical tension, but British filmmaker Daniel Gordon, whose "Crossing the Line" is included in the festival's lineup, did not show up in Busan. But it turned out that he did not attend the festival for personal reasons. The documentary tells a story of Charles Jenkins, a U.S. soldier who defected to North Korea and lived there for 40 years,
Not only Korean movie buffs but also other Asian moviegoers, especially those enchanted by Korea Wave stars such as Lee Byung-hun
("A Bittersweet Life
" and "Joint Security Area") crowded the Nampo-dong, Haeundae and other PIFF venues.
About 300 foreign journalists also visited Busan, and U.S.-based Variety magazine covered the festival with its 20-odd reporters, publishing a daily festival paper, reflecting the heightened stature of the Pusan film festival.
PIFF has been rapidly growing in the past decade, specializing in Asian films and actors in a way that differentiates itself from other Asia-oriented film festivals.
The city of Pusan changed its spelling to Busan in 2001 to comply with the adoption of a new government-devised romanization system, but the film festival keeps the former name and its acronym PIFF.
By Yang Sung-jin