One cannot deny that Pusan film festival has become the premier Asian film festival in the past 10 years. Kim Dong-ho and his colleagues, especially Kim Ji-Seouk, have increased the standards of Korean and Asian cinema through their festival. What festival in Asia and apart from A-caliber events like Cannes, Venice, Berlin and even in other parts of the globe can screen 315 feature films, including 85 world premieres! Everyone once attending Pusan would confess how wonderful is the audience in this festival and this year the audience total hit record levels with a total of 198,818 admissions which proves a seat occupancy rate of 72.3%. The total number of guests, according to festival organizers, reached 11,110, including 3038 domestic guest, 638 international delegates and 1594 media people.
Apart from opening and closing films, there were various sections, including Gala Presentation with 4 Asian films, the non-competitive A Window on Asian Cinema with 50 movies, the competitive New Currents with 14 mostly low-budget independent films from Asian newcomers, Korean Cinema Today included Panorama with 12 mostly established filmmakers and Vision with 8 independent films. The Korean cinema Retrospective showcased 8 films by Han Hyung-mo under the title of The Alchemist of Popular Cinema and two more titles by Kim Ki-young.
The World Cinema's selection consisted of 67 titles and the competitive Wide Angel screened 70 films. The sections including Open Cinema, Flash Forward, Retrospective of Taviani Brothers, Romanian New Wave, Superheroes in Asian, Ani-Asia 2008 Asian Omnibus Collection, Music Videos by Asian Film Directors and Midnight Passion could meet any audiences' expectations.
The Pusan Film Festival has truly become the hub of Asian cinema as this event provides whatever an audience and professional look for! The Asian Film Academy ran from 25th of September till the end of festival and hosted 24 young filmmakers from Asian countries who all attended several courses and workshops by Hou Hsiao Hsien and his colleagues. The 11th Pusan Promotion Plan hosted film directors and producers of 30 selected Asian film projects and Asian Film Market also was held from 3rd to 6th of October with 4640 guests. The Asia-Pacific Film Policy Forum ran for two days on 4 & 5 October and held several conferences on various issues and topics relating to Asian film industry.
The four-member jury of New Currents awarded Korean Land of Scarecrow and Japanese Naked of Defense. NETPAC award went to two films, Members of Funeral and Treeless Mountain. The Korean Cinema Award was presented to Richard Pena, director of New York's Film Society of Lincoln Center and the award for The Asian Filmmaker of the Year was given to Gulnara Sarsenova, director of Kazakhstan's Eurasian Film Festival who has been the first female recipient of this award, however, as a NETPAC member, I believe this award had to go to Aruna Vasudev for her incomparable contribution on Asian cinema in past 30 years.