Asia's two biggest film festivals run back to back - and head to head
The next month sees the film world's focus well and truly tuned in to Asia as the region's two premier festivals kick off - with only a week's break in between them.
The 15th Pusan International Film Festival runs in the South Korean port city of Busan October 7-15 and has established itself as the premier event of its kind thanks to a bustling film market, an eclectic selection of independent films from across the region and long-held links with the film industry everyone is talking about: China.
What's more, its beachside base and the fact it has the backing of the South Korean government (which has helped fund a brand new film center into which the festival will move in 2011), means lots of money is spent on parties to coincide with all the films.
"It's a festival that everyone looks forward to being a part of,'' said Philippine producer Josabeth Alonso, who is taking three films to Busan this year.
"It spells not just opportunities for your film but fun as well. It is a well regarded festival that has become bigger and better over the years.''
And just as the lights go down in Busan, they will start to come up in Japan for the 23rd Tokyo International Film Festival, which will run in the Japanese capital October 23-31.
Industry insiders know there is rivalry between the two events - and point to the expansion of the now seven-edition-old film market in Tokyo and an increasingly commercial line-up as evidence organizers are working overtime to make their mark. Those in charge say they are simply part of one big happy film family; hence, the Japanese festival was pushed back a week this year to enable festival-goers and film industry professionals to better organize their trips.
"We have a cooperative relationship with festivals in Hong Kong, Korea and China,'' Tokyo festival head Tom Yoda told the film trade magazine Variety this week.
"The 'winner takes all' concept is no longer valid. Growth of film industries in the entire region and growth of [the Japanese film] business go together."
Here's how they line up:
What: 15th Pusan International Film Festival
When: October 7-15
Where: Busan, South Korea
What's on: 308 films
The buzz: Expect a sense of anticipation before the event moves venues, a lot of focus on China - and loads and loads of world premieres.
The web: http://www.piff.org
What: 23rd Tokyo International Film Festival
When: October 23-31
Where: Tokyo, Japan
What's on: 200 films
The buzz: Expect a beefed-up film market, and some high-quality films among the 15 selected for the signature Tokyo Sakura Grand Prix and the Special Jury Prize.
The web: http://www.tiff-jp.net/en/
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