South Korea's Pusan International Film Festival (http://www.piff.org) announced it would this year hand out its first-ever award for non-Asian films.
The October 8-16 event, considered the premiere industry gathering in the region, will offer a US$20,000 (€14,335) Flash Forward Award for first or second productions by up-and-coming filmmakers from non-Asian countries.
"The jury for this award will consist of three well-known domestic and international personalities as designated by the PIFF,'' the festival announced in a press release.
"The major aim of the award is to reinforce the status of the Pusan International Film Festival as a showcase for international films and to carry out further the role of the Pusan International Film Festival as internationally recognized cinema platform.''
The timing of the announcement will no doubt raise eyebrows in the Asian film industry, coming as it does in the same week as the staging of the Shanghai International Film Festival (http://siff.com) which, along with the festivals staged in Tokyo in October and Hong Kong in March, has in past years been vying for prominence with Pusan on an increasingly cluttered international film festival circuit.
The new award will now work in tandem with Pusan's major competition, the New Currents Award, which is for first or second films from Asian filmmakers.
Eyes on the prize in Pusan:
New Currents Award: US$30,000 (€21,500) each to two entries open to first and second features by Asian filmmakers.
Flash Forward Award: US$20,000 (€14,335) first prize open to first or second features by non-Asian filmmakers.
PIFF Mecenat Award: KW10 million (€5,674) towards the next film by directors of the best Korean and best Asian documentary films from Wide Angle section.
Sonje Award: KW10 million (€5,674) toward the next film for directors of the best Korean and Asian short films from the Wide Angle section.
KNN Award: US$20,000 (€14,335) audience award for the most popular film in the New Currents section.